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Section. ..\..4~:A.S^ O 





















THE ^^"^^msi St^ 












Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District 

of New York. 



52 ft 64 N. Sixth St., Philadelphia. 


The present volume corresponds to Parts XII. and XIII. of the Old Testament Division of 
Dr. Lange's Biblework, and contains the Solomonic writings, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the 
SoKG OF Solomon. They form an important part of the Old Testament, and give us the poetry 
and practical philosophy of the wisest of men, with none of his follies and sins, which were over- 
ruled in his writings for the advancement of wisdom and virtue. 

The English translation, with additions and improvements, was intrusted to three eminent 
Oriental and Biblical Scholars, too well known in America to need an introduction. They have 
done their work well, and have added very materially to the value as well as the size of the 

In this volume the text of the Authorized Version is superseded by a new metrical version in 
accordance with the laws of Hebrew poetry. The same will be the case in the other poetical 
books of the 0. T. To retain the prose version of King James' revisers, and to insert the cor- 
rections in brackets, would conceal to the reader the beauties of the original as a work of art. In 
Ecclesiastes, Prof. Tayler Lewis has thought best to retain the common version for the Com- 
mentary, and to give his metrical version as a separate appendix. 

Some remarks will introduce the author of this part of the Bibleioork, and explain the relation 
which the several parts of the American edition sustain to the German. 


The author of this Commentary on the Solomonic writings belongs to the younger generation 
of German divines, and appears now for the first time in an English dress ; none of his previous 
writings having been translated. 

Dr. Otto Zockler was born at Griinberg, in the Grand Duchy of Hesse, May 27, 1833. Af- 
ter a thorough training in classical and oriental philology, philosophy and theology, he entered 
the career of an academic teacher of theology, A. D., 1856, as privatim docens, in the University 
of Giessen ; he advanced to the position of professor extraordinarius in 1863, and in the autumn 
of 1866 he was called by the Prussian Government as professor ordinarius to the University of 
Greifswald, in Pomerania, where he still labors with fidelity and success. He is a very able and 
learned divine, a fertile author, a modest, retiring and amiable gentleman, of unblemished cha- 
racter, a little hard of hearing, and hence the more devoted to the cultivation of the inner life by 
study and contemplation, yet wide awake to all the living questions of the age. His learning covers 
a large ground, especially Exegesis of the 0. and N. Testaments, Church History, Apologetics, Na- 
tural Sciences. His biography of St. Jerome, with which I am quite familiar, is one of the best 
historical monographs. He is now engaged on Daniel for Lange's Bibleivork. 

The following is a chronological list of Dr. Zockler's writings to the present date : 

De vi ac notione vocabuli e^Trig in iV! To. diss, inmiguralis. Giss., 1857. 

Theologia naturalis. Entwurf einer systematischen Naturtheologie vom qffenbarungsgldU' 
bigen Standpuncte aus. Bd. I. Frankft. a M., 1860. 

Kritische Geschichte der Askese ( Critical History of Asceticism) ; ein Bcitrag zur Ge- 
schichte chrisllicher Sitte und Cultur. Frankft. 1862. 

HiERONYMUS ; sein Beben u. Wirken aus seinen Schriften dargestelU. Gotha, 1864. 


Dis Evangelienkritik und das Lehenshild Christi nach der Schrift. 2 Vortrdge. Darmstadt, 

Oommenlar zu den Sprtjechen Salomonis. 1866. -j 

Comvientar zum Hohenlied u. Predigee. 1868. > in Lange's Bihleworh. 

Commentar zum PropJieten Daniel (in course of preparation). J 

Die Urgescliichte der Erde u. des Menschen ( The Primilive History of Earth and Man). 
6 Vortrdge gehalten in Hamburg. Giitersloh, 1868. 

Prof. ZoCKLEE is also the principal editor of a valuable apologetic monthly entitled : Der Beweis 
des Glaubens {The Evidence of Faith), Giitersloh (Westphalia), since 1865, and of the Allgememe 
Literarische Anzeiger fur das evang. Deutschland [General Literary Intelligencer for Evange- 
lical Germany), published at Giitersloh, since 1869. 


Prof. ZoCKLER introduces his commentary on this storehouse of practical philosophy and 
heavenly wisdom with the following preface : 

"A theological and homiletic exposition of the Book of Proverbs has diflSculties to contend 
with which exist in an equal degree in but few books of the Old Testament, and in none in quite 
the same form. Even the most searching investigation is able to gain only partially and ap- 
proximately fixed points for the determination of the time when the book originated, and of the 
editorship of its several main divisions as it is now constructed. In almost every new group of 
Proverbs the linguistic and theological exposition of the individual Proverbs encounters new dif- 
ficulties — and these difficulties are, in many cases, of such a sort that we must utterly despair 
of fully assured exegetical results. And finally, to treat the book homiletically and practically, 
in so far as it regards only brief passages, is rendered more difficult by the obscurity of many 
single sentences; and in so far as it attempts to embrace large sections, by the unquestionable 
lack of fixed order and methodical structure, which appears at least in the central main division 
of the collection (chap. x. 1 — xxii. 16), as well as in the supplement added by Hezekiah's men 
(chaps. XXV. — xxix.)." 

" To this is to be added the imperfection of previous expository works, both the scientific and 
the practical." [The author then reviews the recent commentaries of Hitzig, Umbreit, Ew- 
ALD, Bertheau, Vaihinger, and Elster, as well as the older works of Michaelis, Geier, 
Starke, Stocker, Melanchthon, and concludes:] 

" In view of this condition of exegetical literature, heretofore so unsatisfactory in many ways, 
the author has at least attempted, with the most conscientious application of his powers, and 
with the use of the most important works that have hitherto appeared, to effect what might be 
done tj relieve these difficulties, which exi^t in all directions in considerable numbers. . . . 
Over many of the obscurities that exist, he hopes that he has thrown substantially the right 
light ; with regard to others, that he has turned attention to the most promising avenues to an 
appropriate exposition and a useful application ; and that for the whole he has proposed a mean- 
ing essentially sound, scientifically defensible, and, for that very reason, edifying." 

The work on Proverbs was first committed to the hands of the late Robinson P. Dunn, D. D., 
Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature in Brown University. He was one of the most 
accomplished scholars of New England, and " one of those rare men who, by a happy combina- 
tion of the gifts of nature and of grace, seemed adapted to usefulness in every department of 
life." But he had scarcely collected a complete apparatus and finished the rough draft of his 
translation as far as the opening sentences of § 9 of the Introduction, when he was suddenly 
called to his rest, Aug. 28, 1867, in Newport, R. I., the place of his birth, at the age of forty- 
three. His last words were similar to those of Dr. Neander: "Good-by,'l am going home." 
His pen was found in the Commentary on the Proverbs, at the page he had reached, as a sign 
of his last study on earth. His initials are attached to the notes he added.* 

• An elegant memorial volume, published by his widow, pp. 237, contains a biographical sketch by Dr. Samuel L. Cald- 
■VTELi., the Commemorative Discourse delivered, at the request of the Faculty of Rrown University, by the Kev. J. L. Dimax, 
Prof<ijsi)r of History in the University, and selections from the writings of Dr. DusN, which give evi^3ence of his accurate 
Bcholiirsliip, elegant taste, lovely character and elevated piety. 


After the lamented death of Professor Dunn, I secured the valuable services of Dr. Aiken, 
then Professor of Latin Literature in Princeton College, and since called to the Presidency of 
Union College, in the State of New York. A hasty glance at the translation and the grammati- 
cal and critical notes is sufficient to convince the reader how much of original research and learn- 
ing, in addition to the labor of a faithful translation, has been bestowed upon this part of the 
American edition of Lange. In compliance with my suggestion, the purely grammatical parts 
of the Commentary have been transferred as far as practicable to the textual department, in 
small type, which the lay reader may pass by. The same rule has been followed in Ecclesiastes, 
and the Song, as it had already been done in Genesis. ■ An unusual number of grammatical re- 
ferences has been made to Bottcher's encyclopaedic Grammar, which, in the exhaustive fullness 
of its citations, amounts almost to a commentary on the Hebrew Scriptures. The same scholarly 
hand is seen in the large number of supplementary and illustrative notes which are scattered 
through the exegetical parts. The elder English commentators, like Trapp, Muffet, are cited 
not for their scientific, but for their sterling practical value. Of recent commentators, Stuart 
and MuENSCHEE, of our own country, both unknown to Dr. Zockler, have justly been laid un- 
der contribution. Considerable additions have also been made to the homiletical department 
from our rich and varied literature. 


After the translating and editing of Zockleb's Koheleth had been undertaken by Prof. Tay- 
LER Lewis, who had so admirably edited the greater part of Genesis, it was found that the state 
of his health, and the heavy additions which he felt it necessary to make, rendered assistance in- 
dispensable. By my advice, therefore, there was procured the valuable aid of his col- 
league. Prof. Wells, of Union College. To him that important part, the translation, is 
due. For the added introductions, dissertations, annotations, the Metrical Version, and the 
editing generally. Prof. Lewis is responsible. It is trusted that these will afford no little aid to 
a better comprehension of this strange and wonderfully impressive portion of Holy Scripture. 
We have here the ripe fruits of long continued biblical studies from one of our most venerable 
scholars, who is a man of genius as well as learning. The Metrical Version in Iambic measure, 
with an introduction thereto, is a new feature, to which we direct the special attention of the 
lovers of Hebrew poetry. 

As a help to the reader, it is thought best to give, as was done in the volume containing 
Genesis, an index to the principal additions of Prof. Lewis. Some of these are of considerable 
extent and unusual interest, and they may all be divided into two classes, according as they are 
contained in the body of the pages, or in marginal notes. 

I. extended dissertations on leading ideas. 

1. Appendix to Zocklek's Introduction, defending the Solomonic origin of the book 

against the objections drawn from the style, and the alleged later Hebrew pp. 28-35 

2. Excursus on the Olamic or Ionian Words in Scripture — Eternities, or World-times in 

the plural. Ch. i. 3 44-51 

3. The Inquisition of the Ages. Ch. iii. 11-15. Cyclical Ideas in Koheleth 72-76 

4. Alleged Historical Allusions in Koheleth. Ch. iv. 14, 15 84-87 

5. Koheleth'a Idea of the Dead. Ch. ix. 15 129-131 

6. The Alleged Epicureanism of Koheleth. His Mournful Irony. Ch. ix. 7-10; xi. 9, 10. 131-136 

7. The Unknown Way of the Spirit. Life. The Divine Secret in Nature. Ch. xi. 5... 147-151 

8. Koheleth's Description of Old Age intended for the Sensualist 152-154 

9. Beth 01am, or "the Eternal House." xii. 5 158-160 

10. Introduction to Metrical Version, maintaining the Poetical Character of the Book.,.. 171-181 

11. Metrical Version, divided into 40 Meditations 183-199 


1. The metaphor of the Horses of the Sun. i. 5 38 

2. The Reining of the Flesh ; the Word •\V'0. Ch. ii. 3 54-55 

3. r\ntyi mi?, il. 8, falsely rendered ^'■musical instruments" 56-57 


4. The word chance 54 

5. Exclamatory style of Koheleth 54 

6. " There is nothing better for a man," etc. (controverted), ii. 24 56 

7. "The world in their heart." iii. 11 67-68 

8. Ilere, there — Diesseits, Jenseits, or the coming retribution, iii. 17 69-70 

9. "Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward?" iii. 21 71-72 

10. The Melancholy of Epicureanism, as contrasted with the style of the Sacred Poetry 80-81 

11. Vain Predictings, Superstitions, e^c 91 

12. The King, and the Field .'. 92 

13. Spirituality of the Hebrew Accents, "The (?oorf that is ^aj> " 94-95 

14. The Naming — Adam. vi. 10 101 

15. The "Light of thy countenance" :•••• 1^1 

16. The oppression of the wise man 106 

17. " Wisdom giveth life." vii. 12 107 

18. Over-righteousness, Over-wisdom 108 

19. Soliloquizing style of Koheleth 113-114 

20. "The wicked buried" — the "going to and from the Holy Place." viii. 10 119 

21. " The days of thy vain life." Pathetic Repetition, ix. 9 126 

22. False logical and ethical divisions of many commentators 137 

23. "Dead flies." x 138 

24. "Knows not how to go to the city;" interpretation of x. 14, 15 141-142 

25. Speech of the prattling fool. False view of Hitzig 142 

26. "The sight of the eyes," and "the way of the heart." xi. 9 152 

27. " Keepers of the house" — " the Grinders " — " the Light darkened " — "Clouds after rain." 154 

28. " Those who look out of the windows." " The doors shut in the streets." 155 

29. The Mill, and the constant grinding of an ancient household ; with illustration from 

the Odyssey 155-156 

30 The Almond Tree 157 

31. Images of the Silver cord, the Golden bowl, the Fountain, etc 160 

32. Creatlonism. xii. 27 164 

33. The " making many books " 168 

To these may be added many minor marginal notes, together with the notes on particular 
words, the ancient versions, and various readings, as they are attached to each division of the 
text. Special attention is here paid to words alleged to belong to the later Hebrew. 


The Commentary on the Song of songs [D");t^n Tp, Sept.: ^Aa/ia aa/xdruv, Vulg.: Canticum 
caniicorum], as this most beautiful of poems of pure and holy love is called, was prepared by the 
Rev. Dr. Green, Professor in the Theological Seminary at Princeton. 

The difficulty of the book is such as to allow considerable latitude of individual opinion, but 
it is all important to have a proper view of its spirit and aim. The German author justly rejects 
both the profane rationalistic exposition which can see no more in the Song than a sensual erotic 
poem, and the opposite allegorical interpretation which regards the persons and objects described 
as mere figures or names for spiritual persons and objects, leaving a large margin for random 
guess-work and unbridled extravagance.* Most nearly agreeing with his friend, t'rof. Delitzsch, 

* The aUegorical interpretation, it must be admitted, has tho authority of many of the greatest divines, both Jewish and 
Christian, Catholic and Evangelical, and is also sanctioned by tho headings of our English Bible. It will probably alway* 
retain tho ascendancy in tho pulpit, and in books for popular devotion. Many of the most eloquent sermons (as St. Ber- 
nard's Sermnnes in cant, cant., an^l Krummacher's Salnmo und Sidamith), and of tho sweetest hymns (by Oerhardt, Dess- 
LER, Drese, Zixzendobf, Wkslev, and Gdstav IIahn's, Dos Hohe Lied in Lie.dern, Halle, 1853) are based upon this view. If 
wo distinguish carefully between exposition and application, wo may allow a considerable latitude for homiletic and ascetic 
purposes. One of the very best legitimate practical ai)i)lications of the passage li. 15, I have seen, is in a littlo book of 
Mrs. 11. Beechor Stowe, where the " little foxes that spoil the vines" (ii. 15), are applied, in a series of entertaining homilies, 
to little faults that disturb domestic happiness. But in .an exegetical point of view most of the allegorical interpretations tura 
out to be arbitrary impositions rather than erpositions. Just as I write, a new attempt in this line comes to my eyes in tho 
British and Foreign Evangelical Quarterly Review for Oct. 18G9, pp. 773-79G. The writer of this article (iiscovers in the Song 


he adopts the typical or typico- Messianic view, which is not so old and generally received among 
orthodox divines as the allegorical, but which has the sanction of such eminent names as Light- 
foot, BossTJET, LowTH, and is more natural and in harmony with the typical and prophetical 
character of the whole ancient theocracy, as foreshadowing the substance of Christianity, and pre- 
paring the way for its introduction. 

The Canticles are probably a nuptial song or lyric drama (melo-drama) from Solomon's best 
period, and present the ideal Hebrew view of marriage as established by God Himself in Paradise 
on the basis of the strongest and tenderest passion He has implanted in man ; and this ideal is 
realized in the highest and hohest sense in the relation of Christ to His Church (Comp. Eph. 
V. 32). 

The American editor, while recording his approval of Zocklee's method and standpoint in 
general, especially his typical view (see pp. 19-25), has expressed his dissent from certain parts 
of his scheme. He inclines to regard the Canticles as a series of unconnected scenes rather than 
a well-arranged, continuous drama, with a regularly unfolded plot, as is done by Zocklee and 
Delitzsch, also, with various modifications, by Lowth, Ewald, Umbreit, Bottcher, Hitzig, 
Eenan. He is moreover of the opinion that the Song should be more favorably interpreted by 
itself than from the history and later character of Solomon as given in the first book of Kings. 
In this last point I entirely agree. Any reference to Solomon's polygamy, unless it be in the 
way of rebuke, would mar the beauty and purity of the poem, and make it unworthy of its place 
in the canon. 

The next most considerable addition is to the bibliography at the close of the Introduction 
(pp. 43-47), where a pretty full account is given of English and American Commentators on 
the Song. The critical and grammatical notes have been very materially enriched both from 
the editor's own researches and from the early English translations, and from English commen- 

I must add that Dr. Green had inserted a considerable number of Arabic and Persian words, 
but erased nearly all of them in the proof sheets, because, after the type had been procured at con- 
siderable trouble, it was found almost impossible to obtain accuracy in characters unknown to 
the compositors, and because they rather disfigured the pages. 

I now commit this new volume to the churches of the English tongue, with the wish that 
it may be as cordially welcomed, and prove as useful, as the other parts of this Commentary. 

Philip Schaff. 
5, Bible House, New York, Nov. 19, 1869. 

a progressive drama beginning at the gates of Eden and running through the light and shade of the history of Judaism and 
Christianity till the glory of the millennium. He distinguishes in it the following parts: 

1. The Church before the advent, waiting and longing for the coming of Christ. 2d. The theocracy under Solomon, which 
in the temple and its worsliip, afford the fullest and clearest typical revelation of Christ which that dispensation admitted 
of. 3d. The gradual decadence that followed, in both type and prophecy, which went on till at last it deepened into the 
darkness of the captivity. Ith. The sudden opening of the gospel day iu the advent of the Saviour, and the preaching of the 
apostles — the voice of the turtle, and the flowers that now begin to cover the earth. 5th. A second night, during which 
Christ is again absent ; this lasts longer than the first, and during it a deeper sleep oppresses the church. On awakening, 
she is seen seeking her beloved, wounded and bleeding, from the sword of persecution. 6th. The bursting out of the day of 
the Reformation — the morning of the millennium — and then the church is beheld " terrible as an army with banners," 
clothed with truth, and shining with a light which makes her the admiration of the nations, — '• fail- as the moon, clear as 
the sun." 

A few specimens of interpretation on this scheme, will suffice. The kisses of the Bridegroom are the promises of Christ's 
coming ; the "Virgins" who love the spouse (ch. i. 3), like the Virgins in the Apocalypse, represent those who had not de- 
filed themselves with the idolatrous rites of pagan or papal worship ; the " wilderness " from which the bridegroom comes 
on the day of his espousals (iii. 6), is Jewish formalism, Gentile scepticism, and pagan idolatry ; and the clouds of smoke, 
which attended the royal progress, are the symbols of mysterious providences. 





The collection of Proverbs ^vhich bears the name of Solomon is the chief storehouse of moral 
instruction and of practical wisdom for the chosen people of God under the old dispensation. It 
forms, therefore, the principal documentary source of the Ethics of the Old Testament, just as in 
the successive steps of a gradual revelation, it is the peculiar office of the Pentateuch to exhibit 
the fundamental truths of its Theolog)', the Psalter those of its Anthropology, and the Propheti- 
cal Books those of its Cliristology and Soteriology. Some of the more genei'al principles and 
postulates of Ethics, especially much of what belongs to the province of the so-called doctrine 
of the Highest Good, and, as might be expected, the whole doctrine of the Moral Law, are indeed 
found in the Books of Moses. Single topics connected with the doctrine of virtue and obligation 
are occasionally more fully discussed in the Psalms and the Prophets. But the special doctrine 
of virtue and duty, which must ever hold me chief place in the system of Ethics, finds nowhere 
else in the Old Testament so thorough, so individualizing, and so lively a presentation as in the 
Proverbs; and even the more general principles of Ethics, as well as the fundamental maxims 
of rectitude and law are, if not directly referred to in them, at least incidentally assumed.* 

Resting on the basis of the widest and most diverse experience, and adopting the form of the 
most thoughtful, pithy and suggestive apothegms, they apply to the life of man in all positions, 
relations and conditions, the moral precepts contained in the law. In other words, what the law 
reveals as a universal rule for the national Hfe of the covenant people in a religious and a politi- 
cal aspect, the Proverbs apply to the relations and obligations of the private life of each indivi- 
dual of that people. The principle of consecration through fellowship with Jehovah, the God of 
the Covenant, which was revealed through Moses, and established in general in his legislation, is 
individuahzed and developed in detail by Solomon with reference to the special domestic and 
social relations of his countrymen. 

Note. — It has been often observed that the Proverbs of Solomon are the chief source of the 
Old Testament Ethics. Origen, in the Preface to his exposition of the Song of Solomon, ex- 
pressed the opinion that in the Proverbs Solomon had aimed to discuss the iidmi'i, in Ecclosiastes 
the (pvaiK//, and in the Canticles the Aoj7«y or ^ecjptK// (the science of the contemplation of Divine 
things), and Jerome adopted from him this view (Preface to the Coram, on Eccles., Ep. 30 to 

* [This threefold division of Ethics, originating with ScHLEiERMACHEn, and closely adhered to by Rothe, is generally 
adopted in Germany. " Giiterlehre " is the doctrine of the Good as an object of desire or a thing to be attained. '• Tugcnd- 
khre" id the doctrine of the sentinieufs and inclination towimla virtue. " Pflichtenlchrc''' is the doctrine of the riglit aa 
the foundation of law. The first and the last are objective; the second is subjective.— R. P. D.] 

t In his 107 Ep. to Lwta in reference to the education of her daughter Paula, .Jerome says; "Discat prima Psalterium, 
his se ca-nlicis sanctam vocH, d in Pnnvrhiis Salomnnis crudiatur ad ritani." Compare the title naiSayuyiKt, <io<i>ia. whi^h 
Gbeqort of Nazianzus was wont to give to the Book of Proverbs. 


LrxHER, in his Preface to the Books of Solomon, written in 152-!: (Erlang'-n ed., Vol. LXIIl., 
p. 35), says of the Proverbs : " It may be rightly called a book of good works ; for he (Solomon) 
there teaches the nature of a godly and useful life, — so that every man aiming at godliness 
should make it his daily Handbook or Book of Devotion, and often read in it and compare with 
it his Ufe." Stakke (Introd. to the Proverbs, oynops., Pt. IV., p. 1591) thus describes its con- 
tents : " It is for the most part a school of Christian Morals ; upon the basis of faith it founds the 
wisest counsels in reference to the believer's duties towards God, towards his neighbor, and to- 
fl'ards himself .... By means of a great variety of sententious maxims this book teaches 
man how to escape from sin, to please God, and to secure true blessedness." The elder Mi- 
CHAELis (Christian Benedict) gives a like estimate of the ethical value of the Proverbs. He 
passes from an exposition of the Psalms to one of the Proverbs with these words : " From the 
oratory of David we now proceed to the school of Solomon, to find in the son of the greatest of 
theologians the first of philosophers." On account of the ethical wisdom of the Proverbs of 
Solomon, the Wiirtemberg Theosophists, Bengel and Oetinger, preferred them to most of the 
other books of the Old Testament. They made them the theme of' their devout meditations, and 
earnestly sought to penetrate their deeper meaning. (See for Bengel : Osk. Waech cer's " JoA. 
Alb. Bengel: Life, Character, &c., p. 166). Oetinger, when, as a youthful master of arts, he 
resided at Halle, thought of lecturing on "■ Philosophiam sacram el applicatam, drawn from tlio 
Scriptures, especially the Proverbs of Solomon." This pi m he did not, however, carry out. At 
a later period, when he was a pastor first at Hirsau and then at Walddorf, he diligently studied 
the Proverbs as the chief repository and source of what he called "Sensus communis." He used 
them for purposes of religious instruction ; he wrote them on separate slips of paper, put them 
in a box, and made his scholars draw them out as lots. lie also published a little book of a cate- 
chetical nature, with the title " How shall the head of a family exemplify at home the Proverbs 
of Solomon?" and a larger work called " Common Sense in the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes," 
Stuttgard, 1753. " The Proverbs," he once observed, " exhibit Jesus with unusual clearness, and 
he who cannot perceive this knows not Paul's meaning when he says, 1 Cor. xiv. 20, ' In under- 
standing be men' " (see Ehjiann's ^'Life and Letters of Oetinger;" also the essay in Vilmar's 
Fast-theol. BIL, 1865, I., pp. 265 sq, on "Theosophy: Oetinger and the Lutheran Church."— 
Still earlier the Rostock theologian, Samuel Bohl, had attempted in his Ethica Sacra (1610) a 
systematic exhibition of the ethics of Solomon, in the form of a continuous commentary on the 
first nine and the last two chapters of Proverbs. Most of the modern interpreters have in like 
manner justly appreciated the superior ethical value of this book. According to Kahnis [Luth. 
Dogmatik, I., 282) its peculiar excellence lies in the skill with which its author " has presented 
the maxims of a practical wisdom which aims in all the human relations of the Kingdom of God 
to govern the lives. of men in harmony with the intentions of its founder." Elster {Deutsche 
Zeitschr.fur Christl. Wissenschaft, 1859, and in his Commentary on the Proverbs) ascribes the 
importance of this book of Solomon to the fact that "it consists of a didactic religious discussion 
of practical experience," in the form of proverbial wisdom, which is not mere human prudence, 
but " a new emanation from the Divine essence itself, a new communication of eternal wisdom, 
which alone is true wisdom." It is a proverbial wisdom which, " like the Law and the Pro- 
phets, has its own peculiar and most important province," and has upon the varied and symmet- 
rical development of the individual man an influence which should be deeply felt and fully re- 
cognized. Bruch ( Weisheitslehre der Hebrder, pp. 102 sq.), Oehler {Die Grundzuge der alt- 
testammtl. Weishcii, pp. 5 sq.), Delitzsch (Article Spri'iche Salomo's in Heezog's Real-Ency- 
clopddie), express themselves in similar terms with reference to the high ethical and religious 
rank of this book. Even Hitzig, while denying its inspiration, and perceiving in it nothing 
but human wisdom, recognizes in it " a religious consecration and an irresistible attraction of the 
heart towards morality," which distinguish this monument of Hebrew proverbial wisdom above 
all similar productions, whether of Arabian literature or of the Semitic mind in general {"Die 
Spriiche Salomo's ubersetzl und ausgekgt," p. xii.). 

[Coleridge says : " The Book of Proverbs is the best statesman's manual which was ever 
writttn. An adherent to the political economy and spirit of that collection of apothegms and 
essays would do more to eradicate from a people the causes of extravagance, debasement and 


ruin, than all the contributions to political economy of Say, Smith, Malthus and Chalmees 
together."— Prof. M. Stoart says (Preface to his Comm. on Proverbs, p. 9) : "All the hea- 
then moralists and proverbialists joined together cannot furnish us with one such book as that 
of the Proverbs." In his Introd., p. 64, he says : "After all the light which Christianity has 
shed upon us, we could not part with this book without a severe loss." " The book contains a 
striking exhibition of practical wisdom, so striking that it can never be antiquated." — J. Muen- 
6CHER, in his Introd. to his Comm. on Proverbs, says, p. xliv.: " The moral precepts of Solo- 
mon rest on the foundation of religion and true piety, and in this respect differ heaven-wide from 
the systems of the ancient heathen moralists." — R. P. D.J 

[Dr. Gray observes, The Proverbs of the inspired son of David " are so justly founded on prin- 
ciples of human nature, and so adapted to the permanent interests of man, that they agree with 
the manners of every age, and may be assumed as rules for the direction of our conduct in every 
condition and rank of life, however varied in its complexion or diversified by circumstances ; they 
embrace not only the concerns of private morality, but the great objects of political importance." 
— Dr. JoRTiN says : " They have not that air of smartness and vivacity and wit which modern 
writers have usually affected in their maxims and sentences ; but they have what is better, truth 
and solid good sense." " Though the composition be of the disjointed kind, yet there is a gene- 
ral design running through the whole, which the author keeps always in view ; that is, to in- 
struct the people, and particularly young people, at their entrance into public and active life, — 
to give them an early love and an earnest desire of real wisdom, and to lay down such clear rules 
for their behaviour as shall carry them through the world with peace and credit." (See D'Oyly 
and Mant, Introd. to Proverbs). 

Bridges (Exposition of the Proverbs, Am. Ed., Pref., pp. iii., vii., ix., etc.) says: "This 
wonderful book is indeed a mine of Divine wisdom. The views of God are holy and reverential. 
The observation of human nature is minute and accurate." " Doubtless its pervading character 
is not either explicit statement of doctrinal truth or lively exercises of Christian experience. 
Hence the superficial reader passes over to some (in his view) richer portion of the Scriptural 
field." " While other parts of Scripture show us the glory of our high calling, this may instruct 
in all minuteness of detail how to ' walk worthy of it.' Elsewhere we learn our completeness in 
Christ (Col. ii. 10) ; and most justly we glory in our high exaltation as "joint heirs with Christ," 
eic. (Rom. viii. 17 ; Eph. ii. 6). We look into this book, and, as by the aid of the microscope, we 
see the minuteness of our Christian obligations ; that there is not a temper, a Inok, a word, a 
movement, the most important action of the day, the smallest relative duty, in which we do not 
either deface or adorn the image of our Lord, and the profession of His name." 

Wordsworth (Introd. to Proverbs, pp. ix., x.) says: "The Book of Proverbs is an inspired 
book adapted to the circumstances of the times of Solomon." " The Holy Spirit, in inspiring 
Solomon to write the Book of Proverbs, supplied an antidote to the poison of those influences 
(temptations attending the splendor and prosperity of the times), and has given to the world a 
moral and spiritual manual, which has its special uses for those who dwell in populous towns 
and cities, and who are busily engaged in worldly traffic, and are exposed to such temptations 
as are rife in an age and country like our own, distinguished by commercial enterprise and me- 
chanical skill, and by the production of great works of human industry, in Art, Literature and 
Science, and also by religious activity, especially of that kind which aims to give to Religion ex- 
ternal dignity and beauty, such as reached its highest pitch in the Temple of Solomon." Again, 
" The Proverbs of Solomon come from above, and they also look upward. They teach that all 
True Wisdom is the gift of God, and is grounded on the fear of the Lord. They dwell with the 
strongest emphasis on the necessity of careful vigilance over the heart which is manifest only to 
God ; and on the right government of the tongue, whose sins are rarely punished by human laws ; 
and on the duty of acting, in all the daily business and social intercourse of life, with an eye stea- 
dily fixed on the throne of God, and with habitual reference to the only unerring standard of hu- 
man practice, His Will and Word. In this respect the Book of Proverbs prepared the way for the 
preaching of the Gospel ; and we recognize in it an anticipation of the Apostolic precept concern- 
ing all domestic and social relations, ' Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord.' " 

Dean Stanley [Hislory of the Jewish Church, II., 269, Am. Ed.), looking at the other side of 


the shield, says, This book " has even something of a worldly, prudential look, unlike the rest of 
the Bible. But this is the very reason why its recognition as a Sacred Book is so useful. It is 
the philosophy of practical life. It is the sign to us that tlie Bible does not despise common sense 
and discretion. It impresses upon us in the most forcible manner the value of intelligence and 
prudence, and of a good education. The whole strength of the Hebrew language, and of the sacred 
authority of the book, is thrown upon these homely truths. It deals too in that refined, discrimi- 
nating, careful view of the finer shades of human character, so often overlooked by theologians, but 
eo necessary to any true estimate of human life." 

Dr. Guthrie {Sunday Magazine, Oct., 1868, p. 15) calls attention in his forcible way to other 
qualities of the book, and bears a valuable testimony to its experimental worth in a wide sphere. 
" It fulfils in a unique and pre-eminent degree the requirements of effective oratory, not only every 
chapter, but every verse, and almost every clause of every verse expressing something which both 
' strikes and sticks.' " " The day was in Scotland when all her children were initiated into the art 
of reading through the Book of Proverbs. . . . I have no doubt whatever — neither had the late 
Principal Lee, as appears by the evidence he gave before a committee of parliament — that the 
high character which Scotsmen earned in bygone years was mainly due to their early acquaintance 

with the Proverbs, the practical sagacity and wisdom of Solomon The book has unlbrtu- 

nately disappeared from our schools ; and with its disappearance my countrymen are more and 
more losing their national virtues — in self-denial and self-reliance, in foresight and economy, 
in reverence of parents and abhorrence of public charity, some of the best characteristics of old 
manners and old times." — A.] 



The peculiar form in which the ethical doctrines and precepts of the Proverbs are presented 
is that of the JIhokmah, or Proverbial Philosophy of the Hebrews. It is a species of moral and 
philosophical instruction in practical wisdom, which though distinguished by its thoroughly re- 
ligious character from the secular philosophy of all other races, stands in the same relation to 
the spiritual development of the covenant people as that occupied by this philosophy in refer- 
ence to the general culture of men who are without the Scriptures. For, whatever answer be 
given to the somewhat perplexing question, whether the Hebrews can be properly said to have 
had a philosophy, it is certainly true, that the essential feature of philosophy, the striving after 
objective wisdom, or after a true conception of the absolute fitness of the world to accomplish 
its ends, in both a theoretical and a practical aspect, is most completely presented in the Hhokmah 
of the old dispensation ; and that in fact it is only the peculiar form in which this striving de- 
velops itself in the Old Testament literature, which distinguishes this Hhokmah from the phi- 
losophy of Greek and Roman antiquity. Thb wisdom of the people of God under the Old Tes- 
tament is the art of so shaping life in harmony with the divine will, and in obedience to its 
peculiar laws learned by experience and reflection, as to make one an upright subject of the 
kingdom of God, in other wofds, so as to secure at once the divine favor and earthly blessed- 
ness. [When NoYES [A new Translation of the Proverbs, etc., Introd. to Proverbs, p. xiv.) 
says: " It is true that the religion and morality of the Book of Proverbs will not bear a favora- 
ble comparison with those of Jesus Christ. Its morality is much lesa disinterested, being for the 
most part founded in prudence rather than in love. Its motives generally are of a much less 
elevated kind than those which Christianity presents .... Prudential motives, founded on a 
strict earthly retribution, are the principal encouragements to a life of virtue which he presents," 
etc., we recognize the truth which he exhibits, but notwithstanding his supplementary and 
balancing statements prefer Isaac Taylor's mode of exhibiting the truth. Speaking immedi- 
ately- of the 23d Psalm he says [Spirit of Hebrew Poetry, Am. 12mo. ed., p. 38): "The bright 


idea of earthly well-being pervades the Old Testament Scriptures ; and this worldly sunshine is 
their distinction as compared with the New Testament; but then there are many cognate ideas 
which properly come into their places around the terrestrial idea .... A feeling is here indicated 
which was of that age, and which was approvable then, although it has been superseded since 
by sentiments of a higher order, and which draw their reason from the substitution of future 
for present good." — A.] In so far as God is alike the beginning and the end of this pursuit of 
wisdom, or in so far as it both necessarily springs from the fear of God, — Prov. i. 7; ix. 10; 
comp. Job xxviii. 28 ; Ps. cxi. 10 ; Ecclesiast. i. 16, — and leads to a purifying fellowship with 
Him, Prov. viii. 35; iii. 16, ete., it has an essentially religious and practical character. Its 
sphere of reflection and of action must therefore be also more limited than that of the old classi- 
cal or of the modern philosophy, both of which delight in profound theoretical inquiries in refer- 
ence to created existence, and investigatious of not only the end but also the origin of both 
nature and man. Those questions concerning the origin of the world and the origin of evil 
which play so conspicuous a part in the philosophy of ancient and of modern times, are only 
incidentally discussed in the Hebrew literature of wisdom, whether in the works ascribed to 
Solomon, the book of J.ob, or the kindred Psalms ; and then only in their relation to the motives 
and tendencies to practical morality. The divine wisdom which establishes the relation of God 
to the world, and is at once the chief source and fundamental law of both the subjective and 
the objective wisdom of men, (Prov. viii. 21; ix. 12; Job xxviii. 24 sq. ; Ecclesiast. xxiv.) is 
always represented rather as the medium of the foreknowledge and the providence of God, than 
as a creative power, or even as the ideal pattern of the world (the Kdapog voTjrog of Plato). In 
fine, the essential character of the Hebrew philosophy is far more practical than speculative; it 
is as little inclined to pursue or to prompt genuine speculation as it is to identify itself with, 
secular philosophy in general, and with unaided human reason to investigate the final causes of 
things. It is essentially a divine philosophy planting its feet upon the basis of the divine revela- 
tion, and staying itself upon the eternal principles of the divine law; and it is this determinate 
and positive character of its method of conceiving and teaching, that chiefly distinguishes it from 
the philosophy of other nations and of other times. Moreover, the habitual, and not as was the 
case with many ancient philosophers, the occasional, adoption of the poetical form of the Gnome 
or didactic apothegm for conveying its instructions, must be regarded as a marked and import- 
ant feature of this whole body of Old Testament literature, and as a decided indication of its 
method and of its tendencies. 

Note 1. — The Strasburg theologian, J. F. Bruch, in his " Weisheitslehre der Hehrder ; ein 
Beiirag zur Gesch'-chle der Philosophie," Strasburg. 1851, thoroughly discusses the question 
whether or not the doctrine of the Hhokmah in the Old Testament is to be considered philoso- 
phy in the strict sense, and decides it in the affirmative. TJiis was the prevailing opinion in 
former times among the theologians of all the churches. Jesuits, e. g. Menochius in his 
learned work, " De Repuhlica Hebneorum," Book VII., Chap. 1; many of the Heformers of the 
17th and 18th centuries, especially the followers of Descartes and Cocceius ; and Lutherans 
like the aforementioned Bohlius in his "Ethica Sacra,''' or the eminent Budd^us in his "Intro- 
ductio ad Historiam philosophies Hebrmorum," 2d ed., Leipsic, 1720, all spoke without hesitation 
of the Hebrew philosophy, of the philosophy of Solomon, David, Moses, Joseph, and Abraham. 
Indeed they often ventured to trace the philosophy of the patriarchs as far back as to Adam. 
Even at the beginning of the present century Blessig-, in his Introduction to J. G. Dahler's 
"Denk- und Sitteyispriichen /Safowo's" (Strasburg, 1810), unqualifiedly characterized the prover- 
bial poetry of the Hebrews as philosophical ; De Wette, in his Hebrew Archseology, spoke of 
" the speculative and practical philosophy of the Hebrews ;" and Staeudlin wrote a dissertation 
on " The Philosophy, the Origin and Design of the Book of Job." (See his " Beitrdge zur 
Philosophie und Geschichte der Religion und SitLenlehre," II., 133 sq. ; compare the same 
author's " Geist der SiUenlehre Jesu," I., 74 sq.). Theologians of the most diverse schools 
agreed in assuming in general the existence among the eai'ly Hebrews of a style of wisdom 
which might claim the undisputed title of a philosophy. 

The opposite view is represented not only by many later philosophers especially those of the 
critical school of Kant, but also by such theologians as limit the notion "philosophy" to the 


scholarly scieutifio speculative inquiries peculiar to modern times, and must therefore consider 
not only the Hebrews, but all the Semitic races, and indeed the Orientals in general, as totally 
destitute of a philosophical habit of mind. Such was the opinion of Brucker before the time 
of Kant, when he asserted in his Critical History of Philosophy (Leipsic, 1767, I., 64), " non 
coajundendam esse Hebrceoruvi sapientiam cum philosophia 2)ropra nominis alque significalionis." 
Kkug [Philosophisch-Ilncyclopjddisches Lexicon, II., 328) thinks that anything like philosophy 
or philosophical wisdom is not to be looked for among the ancient Hebrews." Heinhold 
[LeJirbuch der Geschichte der Philosophie, p. 15) denies in general the existence of any proper 
old Oriental philosophy side by side with the Greek. Hitter [Geschichte der Philosophie, I., 
48) bluntly says, " Of the only Asiatic nations whose literature is known to us, we may venture 
to assert, without fear of much contradiction, that in the early times they had no philosophy. 
Among these are the Hebrews," etc. 

Of the more recent theologians R. F. Geau (" Semiten und Indogermancn in ihrer Bezleliung 
zu Religion und Wissenschaft," p. 28 sq.) has warmly and zealously supported the proposition 
that '"the Setnitic mind in general has no capacity for either philosophy or science," and Lu- 
THAEDT (in the " Leipziger Vortrdge uher die Kirche, nach Urspjrung, Geschichte und Gegen- 
wart, pp. 18 sq. [pp. 19 sq, of the translation published by Messrs. T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 
1867]) adopts his opinion at least in reference to the Hebrews. 

All these scholars manifestly have too limited and partial a conception of philosophy. They 
with one consent understand by it an exercise of the human intellect controlled by the rigid 
laws of logic and carried on in a scientific method such as was never seen among the early He- 
brews, or indeed among any of the older Eastern nations. But philosophy means far more than 
this. It is in itself, as its etymology, (pL^-oaoipla, i. e. studtum sapientice [love of wisdom], indicates, 
and as the whole practice and method of the oldest Greek philosophers down to the time of 
Aristotle demonstrates, nothing but a love for wisdom; an earnest endeavor to find a theoreti- 
cal and a practical solution of the problems of our earthly life; that intellectual eflfort which 
strives to re-establish the proper relation between the absolute omniscience of God, and the 
relative knowledge possessed by the reason of man. A philosophy and philosophical science in 
this wider sense must be claimed for the people of God under the Old Testament. We cannot, 
however, quite agree with Bruch {ut supra, p. 20 sq.) when, having defined philosophy in its objec- 
tive aspect as " the science of the Absolute, or the science of the supreme necessary causes of all 
that is or that must be," and in its subjective aspect, " as the unaided inquiry after the absolute, 
or rational thinking in so far as renouncing all external authority it investigates the supreme 
necfssary causes of all that is or that must be," he ascribes both to the Hebrews. For, in the 
first place, that which among them corresponds to the philosophy of other nations is not pro- 
perly science, but rather a knowledge and comprehension, an intellectual effort and reflective 
process in general ; and in the next place, it is not so much the " supreme necessary causes " as 
the chief practical ends of our earthly life and being which occupied the mind of the Hebrew 
thinker. It is then only philosophy in its subjective character, as above defined, which can in 
the main be ascribed to the Hebrews, and even this in a form quite unlike that in which it pre- 
sents itself to Bruch, one which secures the full recognition of its predominant practical and 
theological character. A philosophy consisting in such an essentially practical or ethical ten- 
dency of the mind, which by an examination of the highest moral and religious ends of all 
human and superhuman existence, seeks to determine the normal relation between God and the 
world, and thus to point out the way to truth and, may without hesitation be 
ascribed to the people of the Old Covenant. It is indeed a philosophy, which though its shape 
and dress are religious and poetical rather than didactic and scientific, contains within itself all 
the elements which are essential to strictly scientific development, or to an entrance into the 
sphere of dogmatic and moral and theological speculation. 

In this properly limited sense has Ewald, among others, [Geschichte des Volkes Israel, III., 
82) recognized the existence of an old Hebrew Philosophy. " Philosophy," says he, '• may 
exist even where the rigid laws of thought (logic) are not observed, or where no attempt is 
made to reduce all truths and conceptions to a symmetrical whole (a system). This, it may be 
admitted, is ijts final aim, — though this aim like every other human aspiration is so often tho- 


roughly erroneous and misleading ; — it is not, however, its beginning nor its constant living im- 
pulse. Its beginning and very life is rather the intense and unquenchable desire for investiga- 
tion, and for the investigation of all objects, both higher and lower, remote and near, human 
and divine. Where the problems of existence allow thoughtful men no rest, where they 
provoke among the mightiest intellects of any people, or of several nations at once, an un- 
wearied rivalry in the attempt to solve them, Philosophy is in the bloom and vigor of youth. 
In that earlier time the noblest of the Semitic races had plainly reached that sta"-e when 
the Greeks were far from having approached it; and Israel, whose higher religion fur- 
nished besides a special impulse to reflection on the relations of things, now entered with them 
upon this nobler field of hongr in the most generous rivalry." 

Similar views are expressed by Umbreit in his ingenious and instructive, though somewhat 
prolix observations "on the wisdom of the East" [Commentar iiber die Sprilchc Salomas, Eln- 
leiLung, pp. iii. sq.); by Delitzsch (Article " Spriiche Salomas," in Herzog's Real-EncycL, 
XIV., pp. 712 sq.), as well as by the editor of this Biblework in his General Introduction to the 
Old Testament (Genesis p. 19, [Am. Ed.]). Oehlek in his wori "-Die Grundziigeder alttestam. 
Weisheit, pp. 5 sq., as well as his follower Kahnis [LxUherische Dogmatik, 1., 304), essentially 
agrees with the above statements. The latter says excellently, among other things, " To find 
in the life of nature and of man, in the revelations of the kingdom of God, in the whole world 
the divine 'wherefore,' the divine fitness to accomplish the proposed end, was the great aim of 
the wisdom of Solomon. Here unquestionably existed a tendency to science, to philosophy. 
But the national life of Israel rested on too divine a foundation to permit great freedom of in- 
quiry, and the kingdom of God had too many practical aims to favor a purely theoretical explo- 
ration of the objects of existence. Springing from the practical this wisdom sought to further 
the practical," etc. 

Note 2. — In harmony with his above-quoted definition of the philosophy of the Hebrews, as 
an inquiry into the highest necessary causes of all that is or that shall be, Bruch (pp. G9 sq.) 
introduces the cosmogony of the first two chapters of Genesis into his representation of the 
philosophy of the Old Testament. He thus regards the substance of these chapters as a portion 
of a philosophical system, and indeed in its essential features as the earliest instance of philo- 
sophical reflection among the Hebrew race. (Herder, as is well known, held similar vievvs. 
In his " Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschhed " he termed the Mosaic cosmogony 
"an ancient philosophy of the history of man "). This view of Bruch's is connected with his 
assumption of the purely human and moreover half-mythical character of the Mosaic narrative. 
It is therefore to be decidedly rejected, together with his opinion that the Old Testament 
" wisdom " is the product of unaided human speculation, and that no divine or specifically 
supernatural factor is to be recognized in the Old Testament revelation in general. 

Note 3. — The word '^^r''? primarily denotes (in accordance with the fundamental meaning 

of the root DJH, ^Ov.?*' ^^ Arabic, where it means to fasten, to hold fast, and then to 

separate, to decide) the fixing of an object for cognition, and secondarily, simply knowledge, 
insight. It is therefore in Prov. i. 2 used as precisely synonymous with t^iil, and elsewhere, as 
in Isa. xi. 2 sq., as at least parallel with T^y2. The DDn is then in the first instance the wise, 
the learned man in general (comp. Jer. viii. 9), whether he be a judge (1 Kings iii. 28: comp. the 
corresponding Arabic word which always signifies a judge), or an artificer (Ex. xxviii. 3; xxxi. 
6 ; Jer. x. 9), or finally a cunning, subtle man who can use his craft for his own or for others' 
advantage (Job v. 13, comp. 2 Sam. xiii. 3; xx. 16). In the religious realm HO^n naturally 
denotes insight into that upright dealing which pleases God and conforms to the divine law, a 
knowledge of the right way which is to be followed before God, and of the wrong one which is 
to be shunned. In short it is that practical uprightness, founded on religious enlightenment, in 
which the true happiness of man consists, and which is therefore frequently represented by 
n^t^=iil (i. e. well being and wisdom in one), e. g. Prov. ii. 7 ; iii. 21 ; viii. 14; xviii. 1; Job 
xi. 6; xii. 16; xxvi. 3. Compare in general Hitzig, Die Spruche Salomo's, Einleitung, p. Iii 


sq. The latter, however, gives a somewhat different and less correct etymology of the word. 
He defines Dlin as one wlio joossesses the spiritual power of control and determination, and 
noDn as the power of moral self-subjugation. He thus gives to the notion of government a 

prominence which is by no means justified by the Arabic ,t^^is^ 

Note 4.— The Wo or Hebrew gnome, as the distinctive artistic form adopted by the Old 
Testament philosophy and proverbial poetry, will be particularly discussed in a later section. 
We may, however, here observe that of all the titles borrowed from kindred secular literature, 
and applied to the Proverbs of Solomon on account of their peculiar form, none appears more 
just and appropriate than that adopted by Bruch, who terms them (p. 104) an Anthology of 
Hebrew Gnomes. In the explanation and justification of this title he, however, as he does 
elsewhere, disparages the theopneustic character of this Book of Scripture. 


As among other nations philosophy is not wont to assume its proper form till a long time 
after the religious and civil foundations of national culture are securely laid, so in Israel no 
season of undisturbed reflection and of philosophical inquiry and instruction could be enjoyed, 
before the protracted ptorras and conflicts of the period of the Judges had fixed the religion 
of the law in the depths of the popular consciousness, or before the reigns of Saul and Da- 
vid, the earliest kings, had firmly established the theocratic national life. The power of ex- 
ternal enemies must first in some way be broken and overthrown, and the prosperity of the 
citizen and the political and social influence of the nation upon the life of the surrounding 
nations must be to a certain degree secured; but this could not be effected before the bril- 
liant and glorious though warlike reign of David. Furthermore, as an element of the inter- 
nal culture of the nation, the spirit of the law must have begun to receive a new invigora- 
tion and a fresh inculcation, which it derived from the schools of the prophets which sprung 
up after the time of Samuel. Hand in hand with the directly religious activity of this pro- 
phetic company the national poetry must make its earliest start, and create for that philoso- 
phy a proper literary and aesthetic form. 

These conditions were not all of them fully realized until the time of Solomon, when the 
people were blessed with a long period of peace, rich in earthly possessions and enjoyments of all 
sorts ; they then began a lively and widely extended intercourse with foreign nations, and with an 
extending view reaching even to Tarshish and Ophir, their thought and their activity received the 
most various impulses in a direction which was no longer narrow and strictly national, but more 
or less universal and as broad as humanity itself.* There was therefore associated with the priests, 
the prophets, the warriors, the judges, a new class of notables, that of the Hhakamim (D'03n 1 
Kings iv. 30, 31 ; Jer. xviii. 18 ; Prov. i. 6; xiii. 20 ; xxii. 17), the wise, or the teachers of wisdom, 
who began to bear their part in the whole work of training the nation. A pretty large number 
of such wise men, of considerable importance, must have appeared under Solomon, and have been 
associated with him as the most famous of all. For the books of the Kings mention besides him 
some of his contemporaries, viz.: " Ethan, the Ezrahite, and Heman, Chalcol and Darda, the sons 
of Mahol," as representatives of the wisdom of that time (1 Kings iv. 31 ; comp. 1 Chron. ii. 6), 
and compare the wisdom of these Hebrew Hhakamim with that of all the children of the East coun- 
try, and all the wisdom of E gypt " (1 Kings iv. 30). Whether they did or did not form a well de- 

* ["That stately and melancholy figure (Solomnn'8)-in some respects the grandest and the saddest in the sacred vo- 
lume-18, in detail, little more than a mighty .hadow. Bnt, on the other hand, of his age, of his court, of his works, we 
know more than of any other." (Stanlky, Jcxm.h Church, II., 1S4). And the accomplished author goes on to indicate the 
mnlt.pljnng points of contact with the outer and the later world, and with secular history: and adds (p. lS6j : "To have had 
many such characters in the Bil,lic:tl History would have hrought it down too nearly to the ordinary lorel. But to have 
one such is necessary, to hI.ow that the i,>t,.r,.st which we inevitably feel in such events and such m"en has a place in the 
designs of Providence, and in the les.ons of Revelation." See also pp. 252 sq.-Prof B. B. Knw.tRns ( yrritings, etc., II., 402), 
speaking of the fitness of the age to develop this species of poetry, says: "It was the period of peace, extended commerce, 
art, reflection, when the poet could gather up the experiences of the past, and embody them in pithy sayings, sharp 
apothegms, instructive allegories, or spread them out in a kind of philosophical disquisition."— A.] 


fined, exclusive class of popular teachers gathered about some leader or master, whether there were 
thus special schools for tlie wise, or the schools of the prophets were also chief places of culture for 
the disciples of the Hhokraah, these Hhakaraim of the age of Solomon and of subsequent ages must 
be considered a verj' important factor in the limited mental development of the people, and as a 
factor possessing, like the prophetic and the priestly order, an independent importance (conip. Jer. 
xviii. 18 ; Ez. vii. 26). They had doubtless offered a vigorous resistance to those frivolous im- 
pulses of the D'V!?. ^^6 freethinkers and insolent scofTers, that had manifested themselves since the 
times of Saul and of David. Their positive agency was exerted in the propagation and dissemina- 
tion of that deeper religious knowledge and practical wisdom of life, beside which all woz'ldly pru- 
dence, fine culture and enlishtenraent must appear as foolishness (comp. '731 ri73J. r\rT2i etc- 
Prov. xiii. 20 ; xvii. 21 ; Ps. xiv. 1 ; Is. xxxii. 6). The first decided manifestation of this new in- 
tellectual tendency, together with the literature produced by it under Solomon's peaceful reign, 
marks this bright summit of the entire theocratic development in the Old Testament as the golden 
age and the really classic epoch of this especially important branch of the intellectual culture in the 
life of the covenant people. 

Note 1. — The independent significance of (he riDDTI as a special tendency of the mind, exerting 
•with the nx=l3J, or the gift of prophecy, an important influence has been recently estimated with 
special correctness by Ewald. In his dissertation " on the popular and intellectual freedom of 
Israel in the time of the great prophets down to the destruction of Jerusalem " [Bibl. Jahrbilcher, 
1, 96 sq.), he says, among other things, " It is not easy to conceive correctly how high a development 
was reached m the pursuit of wisdom ( Philosophy) in the first centuries after David — and it is not 
usual to consider how mighty was the influence which it exerted on tl\e entire development of the 
national life of Israel. The more closely those centuries are reviewed, the greater must be the as- 
tonishment at the vast power so early exerted on all sides by wisdom as the peculiar concern of 
many men among the people. It first openly manifested itself in especial circles of the nation, 
whilst in the peculiarly propitious age after Solomon eager and inquisitive pupils gathered about 
individual teachers until ever-improving schools were thus formed. But its influence gradually 
pervaded all the other pursuits of the people, and acted upon the most diverse branches of author- 
ship." The existence of especial schools of the wise, like those of the Prophets, thus asserted, can- 
not be satisfactorily proved. Delitzsch's remark in favor of this assumption {ut supra, p. 717), 
that the usual form of address in the Proverbs, 'J2, my son, whicli is not that of a father to a son, 
but of a teacher to a scholar, implies that there were then n:opn \J3, {. e., pupils of the wise, just 
as there were " sons of the prophets," and that there must also have been "schools of w^isdom," is 
and must remain a mere hypothesis. It is moreover an hypothesis, which from the acknowledged 
wide application of the conception j3, son, in Hebrew, and its almost absolute lack of all support 
in the Proverbs as well as in the other books of the Old Testament, must alM'ays be regarded as a 
rather unsafe one. Comp. Bruch, pp. 57 sq., who is at all events so far correct that he observes : 
''The Hebrew wise men were not philosophers by profession; they constituted no class distinct 
from others, but might belong to diflferent classes," For there is the less reason for supposing from 
the above cited passage (Jer. xviii. 18) that there was a special class of Hhakamira,. beside that of 
the priests and the prophets, from the fact that in the parallel passage, Ez. vii. 26, the notion of 
" the wise" is represented by that of " the ancient," D'JP.I- 

Note 2. — The antithesis between \2 and D^n which runs through the entire body of Old Tes- 
tament literature pertaining to wisdom has been discussed in an eminently instructive manner by 
Delitzsch, ut supra, pp. 713 sq. He shows very strikingly how "in the age of Solomon, which 
was peculiarly exposed to the danger of sensuality and worldliness, to religious indifference and 
freethinking latitudinarianism," the number of D'V^ necessarily increased, and their skepticism 
and mocker)- must have assumed a more decided and aggravated form. " For those men who de- 
spised what is holy, and in doing so laid claim to wisdom (Prov. xiv. 6), who, when permitted to 
speak, indulged in contention and bitterness (xxii. 10), who carefully shunned the company of the 
Hhakamiiu, because they fancied themselves superior to their reproofs (xv. 12), the age of Solo- 


mon," he says, " firot invented the title ]*7 [scorner]. For in the Psalms of the time of David their 
common designation is /3J (which occurs in Prov. xvii. 21 only in the general sense of low fellow, 
Germ. Buhe [Eng. ' Booby.' It occurs also in Prov. xvii. 7, and xxx. 22, and the corresponding 
verb in xxx. 32 — R. P. D.], while the word yi is found in no other than the 1st Psalm, which has 
a later origin. One of the proverbs of Solomon (xxi. 24, comp, xxiv. 8) gives a definition of the new 
term : "Proud and haughty scorner (1*7) is his name who dealeth in proud wrath." The conscious 
self-sufficiency of his ungodly thoughts and deeds distinguishes him from the "'il??! the simple, who 
has been only misled, and may therefore be reclaimed (Prov. xix. 25 ; xxi. 11). His disowning 
the Holy, in opposition to a better knowledge and better opportunities, distinguishes him from the 
Vd3 [" foolish," i. e., gross or stupid], the v\1X [" foolish," i. e., lax or remiss], and the ^^-'IDH [the 
man "void of understanding," lit., lacking heart, i.e., sense], all of whom despise truth and in- 
struction through want of understanding, narrowness and forgetfulness of God, rather than from 
essential perverseness." 

Note 3. — Of the four wise contemporaries of Solomon mentioned in 1 Kings v. 11 (iv. 31 accord- 
ing to the older division of chapters [the one followed in our English Bible]) Pieman and Ethan 
appear in Ps. Ixxxviii. 1 and Ixxxix. 1 as " Ezrahites," i. e., descendants of Ezrah or Zerah, the son 
of Judah (Num. xxvi. 13, 20). Chalcol and Darda (in the parallel passage, 1 Chron. ii. 6, Dara) 
are designated as v'lnrD 'p3, i. e., either "sons of Machal," a man otherwise unknown, or if vino 
be taken as an appellative, " sons of verse," i. e., singers, leaders of the chorus (comp. Eccl. xii. 4). 
Luther's translation, " poets," and his reference of the title to all the four, are unsupported by 
the original. Comp. Keil, Commentar zu den Biichern der Konige, pp. 42 sq. 



As the chief representative and promoter of the Jewish literature of wisdom, we have Solomon 
himself [" not only the Auoustds of his age, but its Aristotle" (Stanley)]. The Old Testa- 
ment exalts the wisdom of this monarch, as a direct gift of Divine grace* (1 Kings iii. 5-12; 
iv. 29), high above that of all other wise men, whether of his own or of other nations, — especially 
above that of the teachers of wisdom already named, Heman, Ethan, Chalcol and Darda (1 Kings 
iv. 30, 31). This is described as consisting, in the first place, in the highest virtues of the ruler and 
the judge, or, as it is expressed in 1 Kings iii. 9, in "an understanding heart to judge thy people, 
that I may discern between good and bad ;" and in the second place, in an unusually wide and 
varied knowledge as the basis of his teaching, which related to all the possible relations of created 
existence. [Comp. Stanley's Jewish Church, II., pp. 254 sq.] 

It is this vast erudition which is referred to in the expression "largeness of heartf (37 3n'i) even 
as the sand that is on the sea shore," which, with the words "" wisdom and understanding exceeding 
much," is used in 1 Kings iv. 29 to describe his extraordinary endowments. With the same intent 
it is said of him, ver. 33, that " he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto 
the hy.soop thatspringeth out of the wall; he spake also of beasts, and of fowl and of creeping things 
and of fishes." Among these discourses of his upon all possible manifestations of life in nature are 
doubtless meant wise sayings in reference to their deeper sense, and the Divine majesty and wisdom 
reflected in them, physico-theological observations and descriptions, therefore, such, for example, as 
still present themselves to us in the concluding chapters of the Book of Job (chaps, xxxviii. — xli.), 
and in several of the sublimest Psalms (viii.; ix.; civ., etc.) ; or shorter aphorisms, parabolic reflec- 

* [" He showed hia wisJoni by asking for wisdom. IIo became wise because he had set his heart upon it. This was to 
him the special aspect tlirough wliich tlie Divine Spirit was to be approached, and grasped, and made to bear on the wants 
of men; not the liighest, not the choice of David, n«t the choice of Isaiah; but still the choice of Solomon. 'lie awoke, 
and behold, it wiis a dream." But the fulfilment of it belonged to actual life." DEiN STANLEY, History of the Jewish 
amrcli, 11., 1116.— A.] 

t Luthkr's translation, "getrnsks ITerz" [a comforted, then a courageous or confident heart], must be rejected as con- 
trary lo the sense of the original. Comp. Keil m 7oc., who correctly explains "largeness of heart" as "comprehensive 
understanding," "intellectual capacity to grasp the widest realms of knowledge." 


tions and pointed sentences, such as are quite numerous in the Proverbs and in Ecclesiastes (e. g., 
Prov. vi. 6-8; xx. 1 sq.; xxvi. 1 sq.; xxvii. 3 sq.; xxx. 15 sq.; comp. Eccles. i. 5 sq.; vii. 1 sq.; x. 1 sq.; 
xii. 1 sq.). It is the manifold materials and themes of both ihe lyrical and the didactic poetry of 
Solomon (or, according to 1 Kings iv. 32, his " Proverbs " and " Songs "), which in that noteworthy 
passage are mentioned as proofs of the unusual extent of his knowledge, this theoretical foundation 
of his wisdom, or are pointed out by the prominence given to a few noted examples from the vegeta- 
ble and the animal world. Josephus indeed rightly understood the passage as a whole, when he 
found that it ascribed to Solomon a comprehensive knowledge and a profound philosophical view of 
natural objects [Antl., VIII., 2, 5 : ov^Efxiav tovtuv (I>vqiv i/yvoTjaev ovde ■nfifjfp^.dev avE^haaTov dZA' kv 
irdaaig £(piXoa6(p)/aev [he was not ignorant of the nature of any of these things, nor did he pass them 
by unexamined, but he philosophized concerning them all]. A similar correct estimate of the na- 
ture and extent of the philosophical knowledge of this great monarch is found m Iren^us [Adv. 
haer., IV., 27 1), who, on the authority of the same passage says of Solomon, " earn quce est in con- 
ditione {i. e., ktlgel) sapientiam Dei exponebat ■physiologiee." He thus in like manner ascribes to 
him not perhaps a purely descriptive or historical knowledge of natural objects, but a knowledge 
of nature serving as a basis for fine religious and philosophical observations and ethical instructions 
in wisdom. 

Many of the fruits of this learned pursuit of wisdom must have had a literary character. 
According to 1 Kings iv. 32 " he spake three thousand proverbs, and his songs were a thou- 
sand and five." Not only then had he inherited from his father David, in undiminished fer- 
tility, the power of composing songs, the gift of both sacred and secular lyrical verse, but he 
also originated and established a new species of Hebrew poetic art, that of gnomic didactic 
poetry, of which before his time there had existed but mere germs, imperfect attempts com- 
pletely eclipsed by his achievements. Proportionably few specimens of eithei" class of his 
poetical productions have come down to us. Instead of one thousand and five songs we have 
in the Canon but two Psalms, which bear his name, the 72d and the 127th. The exclusioa 
of so large a number of his lyrics from the collection of the religious verse of his nation may 
have been occasioned either by their lack of a directly religious character, or by their too in- 
dividual bearing. In reference to another monument of the lyrical poetry associated with the 
name of Solomon, the Canticles, it is still an undecided and controverted question whether 
Solomon was the proper and immediate author of it, or rather some contemporary poet who 
chose him as its subject (see ^ 5). 

The remains of his gnomic didactic poetry, as they are presented in the Proverbs, are much 
more numerous. Even this collection, however, contains not more, perhaps, than one quarter 
of those 3,000 sayings which Solomon uttered ; inasmuch as several parts of the book are by 
their titles expressly ascribed to other authors, and of the remaining 746 verses hardly the 
whole can be directly ascribed to him (see § 12). It will always be uncertain whether those 
3,000 proverbs of which it is expressly said that he " spake " them, were all actually recorded 
by him or one of his contemporaries, or whether many of them, as matters of merely oral 
tradition, were not gradually lost. 

That in general he spoke more than he wrote, so that the greater part of the utterances of 
his wisdom consisted in pithy maxims and acute sayings, like the riddles of the modern Ori- 
entals, maybe pretty safely inferred from the statement, that "there came of all people to 
hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the eartli, which had heard of his wisdom " (1 Kings 
iv, 34). The same inference may be drawn partly from the Scripture narrative, and partly from 
the old Jewish tradition preserved by Josephus in reference to the Queen of Sheba's visit to his 
court (1 Kings x. 1 sq.), as well as from the account of his contest with King Hiram, and with 
the Tyrian Abdemon, in the proposing of ingenious riddles. (Josephus, Antt. VIII., 5, 3). 

Note 1.— Besides songs (D'T^?), gnomes or maxims (D'Styo), and riddles (HlTn), Hitzig, 
ut supra, p. xvi., ascribes fables to Solomon. " The discourse concerning beasts, trees, fowl, etc., 
ascribed to him (in 1 Kings iv. 33)," he thinks, "cannot be properly referred to the substance 
of his maxims, but is most naturally understood of his invention of fables." This is a rather ar- 
bitrary conceit of Hitzig' s, which he unsuccessfully tries to sustain by the hypothesis which he 


throws in, that ' perhaps in the ^'ttX, 1 Kings iv. 33 (hyssop), the came of ^sop lies concealed" 
(Aj(T«TOf=L'(TcrwTOi ??). Notwithstanding tiie contrary assertion of Herder, in his well-known 
work, "The Spirit of Hebrew Poetry" (II., p. I3j, the Old Testament offers no example of a 
proper fable. The story of the bramble invited by the trees to be their king (Judg. ix. 8-15) is 
in its whole plan and tendency much more of a parable than a fable. 

Note 2. — According to Oriental traditions in reference to Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, 
her name was Balkis or Belkis ; she became Solomon's concubine, or his actual wife (the first is 
asserted by the Ilimyaritic Arabs, the latter by the -.Ethiopians) ; she bore him a son, Mc-niie- 
hek, with the surname Ibn-el-hagim, son of thewi^e; she iirsL brought to Palestine the 
root of the genuine balsam, afterwards cultivated at Jericho and near Engedi (comp. I Kings 
X. 10, and in addition Josephus, Antt. VIII. 6, 6), etc. Legends of this sort, invented especially 
by the Rabbis to heighten the kingly glory and wisdom of Solomon, and found some of them in 
JosEPQUS [ut supra), others in the Talmud (e. g. Jalkub Jlelachim, p. 195), others in the Koran 
(Sura 27), others in later Arabic, yEthiopic and Persian documents, abound in thecompreher uve 
Turkish work Suleiman name, i. e. the Book of Solomon, which, according to Vox Hammer, 
consists of 70 folio volumes. Comp. Vox Hammer " Rosenol, or Oriental Legends and Tradi- 
tions from Arabic, Persian and Turkish sources," Vol. I., pp. 147-257. See also H. Lddolp, 
Hist. JEihiop., II , c. 3, 4: Pococke, Specimen hist. Arab., p. 60; Caussin de Perceval, ^s.sai 
siir I'histoire des Arabes, I., pp. 76 sq. ; and P. Cassel, Elagabal, in the Elberfeld '• Vortrdge 
f. d. gebildete Publikum," lSG-4, p. 182. 

Note 3. — [The question of Solomon's moral qualification to be the author of some of the 
books contained in the canon of the Scriptures has sometimes perplexed honest disciples, and 
been made a specious argument in the mouths of cavillers. The point is well put and the an- 
swer well given by Arnot, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, pp. 11-13. " The choice of 
Solomon as one of the writers of the Bible at first sight startles, but on deeper study instructs. 
We would have expected a man of more exeiujlary life— a man of uniibrm holiness. It is 
certain that, in the main, the vessels which the Spirit used were sanctified vessels : ' Holy men 
of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.' .... But the diversity in all its extent is 
like all the other ways of God; and He knows how to make either extreme fall into its place in 
the concert of His praise. He who made Saul an apostle did not disdain to use Solomon as a 

prophet If all the writers of the Bible had been perfect in holiness, — if no stain of sin 

could be traced on their character, no error noted in their life, it is certain that the Bible would 
not have served all the purposes which it now serves among men. It would have been Godlike 
indeed in matter and mould, but it would not have reached down to the low estate of man— it 
would not have penetrated to the sort's of a human heart Practical lessons on some sub- 
jects come better through the heart and lips of the weary, repentant king than through a man 

who had tasted fewer pleasures, and led a more even life Here is a marvel ; not a line of 

Solomon^ s writings lends to palliate Solomon's sins The glaring imperfections of the man"s 

life have been used as a dark ground to set off the lustre of that pure righteousness which the 
Spirit has spoken by his lips." — A.] 



The opinion that the Song of Solomon is not only a production of the age of Solomon, but 
most probably the work of Solomon himself, is favored both by its numerous allusions to the 
personal and historical relations of this king {e. g. iii. 2; iv. 4; vi. 8; vii. 5; viii. 11), and by 
its general aesthetic character, its lively conception of nature. Thus it manifests a decided pre- 
ference for comparisons with natural objects of all sorts, especially with such as are distinguished 

♦[While there must bo conceded to be weight in the objections urged by IsA\o Taylor (chap. iii. of his "Spirit of 
Hebrew Podry") to the recognition of a proiier drama in the Scriptures, wo cannot agree witli him that it is only with "a 
voiy forced moaning" tliat such books as .lob and SoloMion's Song can bo called dramatic. There is, on the other liiind, 
need to guard against tlie fondness of some for as^imi^^ting tlie Scriptures in their descriptive terma to secular litera- 
ture; is there not in the other direction such an error as hyper-fastidiousness? A.j 


either by their beauty or their variety ; it refers not only to numerous important places of both 
Norlhern and Soutfiern Palestine, but also to regions, cities and persons beyond the limits of 
Palestine (e. g. Kedar, Damascus, Pharaoh, etc.). Had it been composed merely with reference 
to Solomon, it would not have been ascribed to this monarch either in the title of the Masoretic 
text, or by the unanimous tradition of Jewish antiquity. It is manifestly a product of that 
extremely rich and fruitful poetical activity of Solomon, described in 1 Kings iv. 32, 33. In 
virtue of its erotic contents it belongs essentially to that division of his poetry which is there 
indicated by the mention of the songs which were a thousand and five, and thus to the lyrical 
class, whose characteristic features must be recognized in it, though with Umbreit, Ewald, 
Delitzsch and others, we regard it as a dramatic composition. For even though this pre-emi- 
nently probable view of its artistic form be adopted, — a view which alone offers a thorough and 
generally satisfactory refutation of the recently somewhat popular theory, which divides the 
entire composition into a simple cycle of " love songs," — the essentially lyrical and erotic 
character of its separate parts is ever unmistakable; so that the name of a drama in the nar- 
rower and stricter sense of the word is not on the whole applicable to it, but rather only that 
of a "lyrical drama" (Bottcher), a garland of erotic songs joined in dramatic unity (De- 
litzsch). But notwithstanding this its lyric and dramatic, or perhaps even melo-dramatic 
form, and notwithstanding its somewhat wide deviation from the Maschal form of the Proverbs, 
there exists between its fundamental idea and that of the strictly didactic or aphoristic poetry 
of Solomon a significant inner connection. The Song of Solomon must undoubtedly be 
classed with the Hhokmah poetry in its wider sense, because its fundamental idea when 
rightly viewed, must be admitted to belong to the circle of those ethical ideas which form 
the chief and the favorite subjects of Solomon's doctrine of wisdom. This fundamental idea 
consists in the exaltation of conjugal love and faithfulness as the most excellent and sure 
foundation of earthly prosperity, as a moral force in life triumphing over all the misery 
and mischief of this earth and even death itself. This fundamental idea is prominent in 
passages like chap. vii. 7, 8, and viii. G-8, which are closely related to expressions like those 
found in Prov. v. IS, 19; xviii. 22; xix. 14; xxxi. 10 sq. This must be admitted to be the 
chief topic in the poem and i\& central point in its descriptions, whether we assume, with 
EwALD and others, that the design is to celebrate the changeless constancy and innocence 
of the Shulamite, that was proof against all the flatteries and artful temptations of the 
luxurious Solomon, or with Delitzsch, that the work belongs to an earlier period in the 
life of that king, before he had sunk into the foul depths of polygamy and idolatry, and that 
consequently it refers to his chaste relations to a single wife. It is evident that the latter 
view is more harmonious with the opinion which, on both internal and external grounds, 
asserts the authorship of Solomon, than is that of Ewald, or than the interpretation most 
nearly related to it adopted by Hua, Bottcher and the author of this general commentary ; 
it also favors equally, if not still better, the recognition of a secondary or a mystical reference 
of the poem to the Messiah. For as a representation of the rapturous joy and bliss arising 
from the conjugal relation between Solomon, the prince of peace, and his beloved Shulamite, 
the poem admits of innumerable typical and prophetic applications to Christ and His Church. 
And these applications render superfluous all other expositions of its Christological contents, 
such as have resorted to various allegorizing expedients, from the earliest periods of the Church 
down to the time of H. A. Hahit and Hengstenbero- [with whom must be reckoned as 
in general sympathy a considerable number of British and American expositors, among the 
most conspicuous and emphatic of whom is Bishop Wordsworth]. The mystery of the Song 
of Solomon is that of the marriage relation, and therefore the poem not only admits of that 
somewhat general Messianic sense which belongs to every poetical celebration of bridal love 
and conjugal faithfulness within the range of the Scripi.ures (comp. Eph. v. 32), but also 
appears as a Messianic prophecy of a specific typical significance, as a prediction in which the 
marriage of a theocratic king of Israel is described as an especially suggestive analogue and typo 
of the relation of Christ to the Church of the New Testament. In this aspect it closely resem- 
bles the 45th Psalm, which likewise celebrates an Old Testament royal marriage as a type of the 
New Testament covenant relation between Christ and His Church ; this Psalm, however, pro- 


bably refers to a later prince than Solomon, acd both by this its origin, in a period after Solomon, 
and by the unmistakable decrease, in its delineations, of the favorite ideas and characteristio 
imagery of Solomon's poetry, it shows that it must have sprung from another sphere of spiritual 
culture and production than that of the classic Hhokmah literature of the earlier age. 

[All comment on this view of Solomon's Song, together with all comparative and supplemen- 
tary presentation of views that have been held in Great Britain and America, is deferred to the 
Introduction and Exegetical notes connected with our author's companion Commentary on the 
Book, which is contained in the present series and will be found translated in the present vol- 

Note. In these hints with reference to the relation in which ihe Song of Solomon stands to 

the literature of wisdom which bears his name, we have mainly followed Delitzsch. In his 
" JJntersuchung und Audeguyig des Hohenliedes,'" 1851, p. 171, he does not hesitate to designate 
it as " a production of the Hhokmah," — a species of literature cultivated and employed by Solo- 
mon with conspicuous skill. • This he does in virtue of the broadly human and ethical character 
of the idea of conjugal love and union which forms its chief theme. " For," he adds, arguing 
pertinently in support of his view, "the Hhokmah of the age of Solomon is devoted to the ex- 
position of those creative ordinances of the Cosmos, which have a broader range than the national 
limits of Israel, and of the universal axioms of religion and morality. The poetry of the 
Hhokmah is therefore didactic; and both proverbial poetry and drama were developed by it." 

Delitzsch's view of the Song of Solomon and of its ethical and theological value, is 
in f^eneral more interesting and in all respects more satisfactory than any other modern one; it 
is also preferable to that of the respected founder of this general Commentary, who, on p. 36 
[Am. Ed.] of the General Introduction to the Old Testament, expresses the view " that the 
poem doubtless sprung from the theoretic indignation provoked by the anticipated allowance 
of religious freedom by Solomon, his polygamy implicating him with heathenism." The fun- 
damental idea is therefore held to be that " the Virgin of Israel, or the theocracy, refuses 
to be numbered with the heathen wives, or religions, as the favorite of Solomon, but turns 
to her true betrothed, the still remote Messiah." 

We cannot adopt this view, chiefly because the arguments for the genuineness of the poem 
or the authorship of Solomon, seem to us to outweigh all that lie against it. As little, and 
indeed still less, can we approve the two conceptions most nearly related to this of Lange. 
That of Hug {"Das Hoheliedin einer noch unversuchten Deuiung," 1813) refers the poem to 
the time of Hezekiah, and considers it as a symbolical expression of the desire of the ten tribes 
of Israel for reunion with the kingdom of Judah represented by the king of peace, Hezekiah — 
Solomon. That advocated by Bottcher [Die dltesten Buhnendichtungen, 1850) regards it as a 
lyrical drama, produced and represented in the kingdom of Israel about the year 950 B. C, 
some time after Solomon's death, and aimed at the royal house and the manners of the harem, 
so hostile to the life of the family. A more extended critical discussion of these views would 
here be out of place. An examination of the various modifications of the Messianic allegorical 
interpretation, as well as of the purely historical or profane erotic view (Theodore of Mopsu- 
esta, Castellio, J. D. Michaelis, Herder, Eichhorn, Hitzig, etc.), must be left for the 
Introduction to this book of Scripture. 



The Book of Job must also be without doubt classed with the productions of the poetica\ 
Hhokmah literature, and indeed, as a whole, with even more justice than the Song of Solomon. 
For although its composition cannot be confidently referred to the time of Solomon, since verbal 
and other considerations seem to indicate a later period for its origin, its inner relationship to the 
chief characteristic productions of that literature, to the Proverbs on the one hand and to Ec- 
clesiastes on the other, is so much the less doubtful. Its ethical and religious tendency, developed 
in the representation of the conflict and the victory of a godly man in sore trial, and in the 
justification of the divine dealing in the face of the apparent injustice of such sufferings as his, 


and the peculiar method in which it develops this fundamental thought, by means of conversa- 
tions and discourses which are made up now of gnomes or moral maxims strung together like 
pearls, and again of lively and symbolical pictures from nature and from human life, — both 
alike prove the close connection of this didactic poem with the proverbial poetry of Solomon 
as we have above (§§ 3, 4) characterized it. Moreover, the manner in which the poet in chap, 
xxviii. rises to the idea of the absolute wisdom of God, and represents a participation in it aa 
dependent on a godly and upright course, is very closely related to that which appears in pas- 
sages like Prov. viii. 22; ix. 12; Eccl. xii. 13 ; Prov. i. 7; iii. 16, etc. The fundamental prin- 
ciple and the didactic tendency of the book seem in all essential features to have sprung from 
the same style of seeking after wisdom and of religious and philosophical inquiry as the Pro- 
verbs and Ecclesiastes ; and if, in consequence of a certain tinge of skepticism peculiar to its 
theological views and reflections, in which the decidedly skeptical attitude of the Preacher to a 
certain extent betrays itself, it forms a sort of connecting link between these two books, so on 
the other hand it is by virtue of its poetical form most nearly related to the Song of Solomon. 
For like this it appears in the poetical garb of a drama, of a drama, however, which, in so far as it 
bears an impress of an epico-dramatic rather than of a ^yrico-dramatic (melodramatic) kind, de- 
viates from the pure central and typical form of this species of poetry in a diflferent direction from 
that taken by the Song of Solomon. It is on this account, therefore, to be likened to such in- 
tellectual creations as Dante's Divine Comedy (or even as the philosophical dialogues of Plato, 
so far as these may be considered as artistic poetical productions in the wider sense), rather 
than to the erotic lyrical dramas or idylls of other nations.* 

At all events the interlocutory dramatic style of the poeai prompts one to fix the time of its 
composition as near as possible to that of the Song of Solomon, and to regard it as havinor 
originated, if not under Solomon, at least in the age immediately following him. This period is in- 
dicated on the one hand by the sublime character of its descriptions of nature, reminding one 
strongly of the universally extended horizon of the epoch of Solomon (compare especially 
chaps, xxxviii.-xli. with 1 Kings iv. 33), and on the other by the traces appearing in passages 
like ix. 24 ; xii. 17 sq. ; xv. 18 sq., of a decline already begun in the glory of the kmgdom, and 
of heavy national calamities. That the whole book must in any case have appeared long before 
the Babylonish captivity, is evident from such a familiarity with its contents as a whole, and 
with individual descriptions in it, as is exhibited by the prophets Ezekiel (xx. 14, 20) and 
Jeremiah (xx. 14 sq., corap. Job iii. 3 sq.). This origin before the exile is to be claimed also 
for the discourses of Elihu in chaps, xxxii.-xxxvii. the more confidently, in proportion as they 
unmistakably form an essential and indispensable link of connection between the conversation 
of Job with his three friends, and the manifestation of Jehovah which brings the final solution 
of the whole problem. 

[Among English authors who agree in this classification of the Book of Job few are more 
emphatic in their assertions or more felicitous in their illustration than Dean Stanley [Jewish 
Church, II., 270-1) : "Nothing but the wide contact of that age with the Gentile world could, 
humanly speaking, have admitted either a subject or a scene so remote from Jewish thought 
and customs, ^s that of Job." "The allusions to the horse, the peacock, the crocodile and the 
hippopotamus, are such as in Palestine could hardly have been made till after the formation of 
Solomon's collections. The knowledge of Egypt and Arabia is what could only have been 
acquired after the diffusion of Solomon's commerce. The questions discussed are the same as 
those which agitate the mind of Solomon, but descending deeper and deeper into the ditficulties 
of the world," etc. — On the other side, apart from formal commentaries, one will hardly find a 
clearer and more vigorous presentation of the reasons, both in the style and substance of the 
Book of Job, for assigning it an earlier date, "an age as early at least as that of the Israelitish 
settlement in Palestine," than is given in chap. 8 of Isaac Taylor's Spirit of Hebrew 
Poetry. — A.] 

Note. — If the Book of Job belongs to the epoch of Solomon, there is the more reason for re- 

* Compare the excellent essay of G. Baur, " Das Buck Hioh und DanWs goUliche Komodie, eine ParaUele," in the 
Sttidien und Kritiken, 1856, III. 


garding this period as one of unequalled richness in the manifuld variety of its poetical ideas, its 
Bpecies and forms of poetic art. For beside.T the religious lyric and the proverbial poetry, both 
of the chief forms of the Old Testament drama, the religious-erotic and the religious-didactic or 
philosophical, must have attained their maturity during this period ; and there is the more truth 
in what Ewald — who, moreover, refers the Book of Job to the period just before the exile — re- 
marks in characterizing this epoch : "Thus at this time poetry expands, seeking new paths in 
every possible direction, though she could only enter them. This is the period of the full forma- 
tion and broadest development of Hebrew poetry, when it reveals all its latent capacities, and 
gathers up all its scattered forces; and it is just this that is here new and peculiar" {Die jjoet- 
ischen Bucher des alien Bundes, I., p. 19). Compare Haeveenick, EMelt. in das A. T., 
herausg. von Keil, Bd. III., p. 12: "Thus Solomon excels his father in fruitfulness of poetic 
inspiration, and this fruitfulness testifies to the great wealth of this period in poetical produc- 
tions. As the splendor and richness of Solomon's peaceful reign is a fruit of David's strifes and 
victories, so the poetry of his time is but the rich unfolding of the fruit planted and nourished by 
David. It proves itself to be such by its peculiar character of peaceful objectiveness, while the 
poetry of David is the thorough expression of deeply stirred subjective emotion. The blessedness 
of the peace, which, after long and bitter conflicts, the theocracy enjoyed under Solomon, reflects 
itself as clearly in the 72d and 127th Psalms as in the Song of Solomon, and gives to the latter, 
notwithstanding its thoroughly emotional contents, a repose and objectiveness of attitude which 
has loner since overcome all struggle and conflict. With this is also connected the broader hori- 
zon which poetry gains under Solomon, as well as the complete development and rounding out 
of its form which likewise marks this period," etc. Many of the characteristics here mentioned 
belong as well to the book of Job ; this is not, however, the case with all of them. The passages 
above quoted [on the preceding page], for example, refer rather to a disturbed and troublous pe- 
riod, than to the peaceful repose and glory of Solomon's reign. On this account we do not ven- 
ture to adopt without hesitation the view that the book originated in this period, as held by 
Luther, Doedeklein, Staeudlin, Haevernick, Keil, Schlottjiann, Hahn, Vaihixger, 
and others. We regard as more probable the assumption of a somewhat later composition (adopted 
by the general Editor; see Introd., etc., p. 35). We do not, however, for that reason, with Ew- 
ALD HiEZEL, Heiligstedt, Bleek, and others, assign its origin to the seventh century before 
Christ; or, with Clericus, Gesenius, Umbreit, Vatke, Bunsen, and others, refer it to the 
exile or the period that immediately followed it. 


To the productions of the Hhokniah that undoubtedly belong after Solomon is to be referred 
Koheleth or the Preacher (J^^np, 'E/v/i?.?/CT<a(Tr/}f). This is a didactic poem, which not only by its 
extended monologue in the Maschal form, but also by its express designation of the speaker as 
" the son of David," and " King in Jerusalem," seems to betray an origin direct from Solomon. 
The entire weight of all those considerations, whether of an internal or a verbal character, which 
claim attention, compel the assumption of an origin not only after Solomon, but even after the 
exile. For the numerous Chaldaisms in its diction, the references to the oppressive rule of un- 
worthy kings of a non-Israeli tish race, e. g., iv. 13-16; v. 8 ; viii. 1 sq.; x. 4 sq., as well as many 
allusions to circumstances and events after the exile, such as vi. 2, 3 ; viii. 10 ; ix. 13 sq.; xii, 
12— all together compel us to recognize the book as a literary monument of the later Persian 
period. Complaints of the vanity of all earthly things, in the form of disconnected monologues, 
not, however, exactly separate aphoristic sentences like those of the Proverbs, but rather as some- 
what extended reflections, are here put into the mouth of the wise King Solomon. The rhetori- 
cal dress by means of which this is accomplished appears the more suitable, since a king who had 
not only acquired an unusually extended knowledge of earthly things, but also had surrendered 
himself to the inordinate enjoyment of them, should be regarded as a pre-eminently appropriate 
preacher concerning their nothingness and transitoriness. The complaints which the book con- 
tains on this topic sometimes rise to doubts in reference to the moral government of the world ; 
e. g., iii. 10 sq.; iv. 1 sq.; vi. 8 sq.; vii. 15 sq.; ix. 2 sq., or where this is not the case, at least 


leave apparently unreconciled the contradiction between the Divine perfection and the vanity of 
the world. Its philosophy of life has therefore with a certain degree of justice been explained as 
a sceptical one. It has indeed even received the name of a "Song of Songs of Scepticism."* 
The entire absence of the Divine covenant name, Jehovah, and the occurrence of frequent exhor- 
tations to the cheerful enjoyment of life, instead of possible admonitions to obedient subjection to 
the law (ii. 24-26; iii. 12 sq ; iii. 22; v. 17-19; viii. 15; ix. 7-iO , xi. 7 sq.; xii. 7 sq.), might 
besides seem to justify the suspicion of an attitude religiously indifferent and morally lax, which, 
is not seldom charged upon the author. He was, however, far removed from proper Epicurean- 
ism, or indeed from atheistic impulses. He in fact never contents himself with uniting the tra- 
ditional faith and his sceptical view of the world in a merely external " Concordat between the 
fear of God and the cheerful enjoyment of the present " (Kahnis, ut supra, p. 309). But in a 
time inclined to the abandonment of faith in God's holy and just govermnent of the world, he 
clings to such a faith 'with a touching constancy, and defends the fact of the wise rule of the 
Eternal and Omnipotent God against all the frivolous scoffs of fools (ii. 26 ; iii. 20 sq.; v. 1 ; v. 
17-19; viii. 14; ix. 1-3; compare ii. 13; iv. 5; x. 2 sq.; x. 13, 14). And in an age when his 
people had little or nothing to hope for in the way of external national prosperity and increase, 
when moral dullness, apathy and despondency might thus easily master the individual members 
of this people, he is never weary of pointing out the righteous retributions of the future as a mo- 
tive to the fear of God, the chief and all-comprehending virtue of the wise (iii. 14-17; v. 6; vi. 
6, 10; viii. 12 sq.; xi. 9; xii. 13, 14), and of commending unwavering constancy in individual 
callings as the best prudence and the surest defence against the sufferings and the temptations 
of our earthly life (compare ii. 10 ; iii. 22 ; v. 17, 18 ; viii. 15, etc.). It is especially the high 
estimate which he puts upon this faithful endeavor to fulfil one's earthly duty, this " cheerfulness 
in labor," which reveals the close relationship between his practical view of life and that of the 
Proverbs of Solomon, and reveals his place within the circle of those Hhakainim whose spiritual 
thought and action in the earlier age has left its worthiest monument in that collection of Pro- 
verbs, and in the Book of Job. 

Note 1. — The assumption that Solomon was the immediate author of the Book of Ecclesiastes, 
which once exclusively prevailed, and is still at this time defended by L. Van Essen {Der Pre- 
diger Salomo's, Schaffh., 1856), H. A. Hahn, Commenlar, etc., 1860), and E. Bohl [Dissertatio 
de Arumais77iis libri Koheleth, Erlangen, 1860), is refuted not only by the arguments above 
given, which favor its origin in the period of the Persian sway, but still more especially by many 
passages in which the use of the name of King Solomoo is manifestly but a free and poetical one ; 
e. g., i. 12; i. 16; ii. 6; and particularly xii. 9-14, in which the author speaks of his own 
person in distinction from the Preacher. Compare Bleek, Einleitung, p. 643 ; Keil, Einlei- 
tung, p. 435. 

Note 2. — The charges which have of late been often brought against the Book of Ecclesiastes, 
viz., that it teaches merely a "religion of the present," that its moral and religious tendency is sim- 
ply negative, that it inclines to fatalistic scepticism and to the lax morahty of Epicureanism 
(LowTH, DoEDERLEiN, De Wette, Knobel, in part also Hitzig and Bruch, according to whom 
" the scepticism of this book rises even to bitter anguish and utter despair of finding any aim or or- 
der in human life" [ut SMj9ra, pp. 68, 238 sq., 383 sq.]), are met by the passages above cited, in 
which patient devotion to one's personal earthly calling, together with a cheerful mind and 
thankful enjoyment of God's temporal gifts, is recommended. These passages are of special im- 
portance, since they significantly exhibit the peculiar practical tendency of the book. It is the 
New Testament virtues, inrofiovi], xnipeiv rjj £?.Ki6t, epydi^sc&ai fiera Tjavx'iag (Rom. xii. 12; 2 Thes. 
iii. 12, etc.), in their peculiar Old Testament form, and in accordance with that view of the 
world inculcated in the more advanced Hhokmah doctrine, which are here substantially exhibited 
and commended to the tempted saints of the theocracy after the exile. 

Compare Luther's Preface to the writings of Solomon — " The other book is named Koheleth, 
which we call the Preacher; and it is a book of consolation. When a man would live obediently. 

* So Heinrich Heine designates it in his "Vermischte Schriften," 1854, 1. lo like manner Deutzsch, Oammentar sumi 
Buck Biob (iu Keil and Dsuizsch's Bibl. Comm. zum A. T.), p. 5. 



accorJing to the teaching of the first book (i. e., the Proverbs), and perform the duties of his 
calling or of his office, the devil, the world, and his own flesh oppose, so that he is wearied of his 

condition Now as Solomon in the first book teaches obedience, as against foolish desire 

and curiosity, so in this book he teaches patience and constancy in opposition to discontent and 
tem.ptation, and a peaceful and joyful waiting for. the final hour." Comp. the Preface to the La- 
tin Commentary [0pp. exeget. ed. Schmid et Irmischer, T. XXL, p. 5): Hunc libru7n Ecdesias- 
ten rectius nos vocaremus Folitica vel CEconomica Salomonis, qui viro in politia versanti consulat 
in casibus tristibus et animum erudiat ac roborct ad patientiam, etc. ["This book, Ecclesiastes, 
we should more correctly call the Politics or Economics of Solomon ; for he is giving counsel in 
adversity to a man engaged in public life, and is training and strengthening his spirit to patience," 
etc.] For similar passages see Elster, Commentar uber den Prediger Sal., 1855, Introd., pp. 
14 sq. Besides this expositor (see especially pp. 27 sq.), Ewald [Einl. zu Koheleth, pp. 177 sq.)^ 
Haevernick (Einl. III., 449 sq.), Vaihinger ( Ueber den Plan Koheleth's, Stud, und Krit., 
1848, pp. 442 sq.), and Hengstenbeeg [Der Prediger Salom. ansgelegt, 1859), have, among 
recent writers, with cogent arguments, defended the ethical character and contents of the book 
against such attacks. Compare also the profound essay of Vilmar, " Ueher Koheleth,'^ in the 
Pastoraltheol. Bll, 1863, 1, 241 sq. 


Proverbial poetry most clearly combined with lyrical appears not only in the writings of Solo- 
mon, but also in those of many poets of the later age. Certam intermediate forms of composition 
therefore occur which may be classed with one as well as with the other species of poetry. Such 
are those Psalms, which, though they do not directly teach wisdom, yet sing the praise of the 
fear of God as the source of all wisdom, and exhibit a didactic tendency, both by the Maschal 
form which they adopt, and by proclaiming the praise of the law of the Lord and their exhorta- 
tions to its faithful observance. They may be briefly designated as Hhokmah-Psalms, and may 
be regarded as gnomes expanded into lyrics, or as the combination of several wise adages into a 
lyrical didactic whole. The shortest of the two Psalms ascribed to Solomon, the 127th, appears 
to be in a measure a gnome thus expanded into a lyrical form. Of the later Psalms those belong 
to the same category, which consist of praises of a life led in the fear of God and the faithful ob- 
servance of the law,— Ps. i., cxi., cxii., cxxv. and cxxviii. Of these the second is especially worthy 
of notice, in that it closes with the same commendation of the fear of God as the beginning of wis- 
dom (ver. 10), which is found at the beginning of Solomon's Book of Proverbs (Prov. i. 7, comp. 
ix. 10, etc.), and at the end of Ecclesiastes and of the 28th chapter of the Book of Job. The 
119th Psalm is also a Psalm of wisdom on a magnificent scale, an alphabetical arrangement [lost 
of course in our versions] of inspired praises of the Divine word, and of the blessings which re- 
sult from obeying it, — which Luther has well styled " the Christian A. B. C. of praise, love, 
power, and use of the word of God." Here belongs also the 49th Psalm, which describes the 
transitoriness of the happiness of the ungodly, and contrasts with it the hope of the righteous 
resting on God. For this purpose it adopts a form which is expressly termed " speaking of wis- 
dom" (ver. 3 [E. V.]), a "parable," a "dark saying" (ver. 4 [E. V.]). The 7Sth Psalm, which be- 
longs to Asaph, asserts its didactic character by the use of similar expressions. Yet its contents, 
which are descriptive of the history of redemption rather than gnomically instructive or contem- 
plative, show that it ought not to be classed with the proper psalms of wisdom, even though its 
tendency, like that of several other of the Psalms of Asaph, might in general be called didactic. 
Those Psalms of David also, which contain didactic matter, differ almost throughout both in 
their contents and their form from the Hhokmah poetry of the age of Solomon, and of that im- 
mediately succeeding, and only incidentally coincide with a few of the above named psalms of 
wisdom ; e. g., Ps. xv. 2 sq., with Pss. i., cxi., cxii.; Ps. xiv..8 sq., with Ps. cxix. 

The title "^'^t^O borne by some of David's psalms, e. g., Pss. xxxii., lii., as well as by Asaph's, 
the 7Sth, affords no ground for regarding tliese songs as productions of the Hhokmah poetry, or 
in general as merely didactic poems; for /'^tyip is to be rendered neither as " Instructioa" nor 


as " Didactic poem," but most probably with Delitzsch as "Meditation," or even with Hitzig 
and others, as " Form, Image, Invention." The Psalter then contains in general no Hhokmah 
poems of the period before Solomon, since the above named psalms of this class, all belong more 
probably to a later age, and indeed for the most part to the period after the exile ; they are conse- 
quently contemporary Avith Ecclesiastes rather, perhaps, than with the Book of Job, or with the 
original materials, of the Book of Proverbs. 


WISDOM, eic). 

In the Apocryphal writings of Jesus, son of Sirach {'2o(pia tov lleipdx, Ecclesiasticus), and of 
the anonymous author of the book of Baruch, and of the "Wisdom of Solomon," the Hebrew 
literature of wisdom celebrates its second spring-time upon Alexandrian Hellenistic soil. 
No one ot tb?se works can have originated earlier than the second century before the Christian 
Era, at least in the linguistic form and structure in which they now exist. For the Ptolemy 
under whon> the younger son of Sirach* clothed in its present Greek garb the Hebrew work of his 
gra,udfather of the same name (a Jew of Palestine), can be no other than Ptolemy Physcon, or 
Ptolemy Euergetes II. (B. C. 170-117). The Book of Wisdom, according to internal evidence, 
belongs rather to the more advanced than to the earlier period of Alexandrianism ; it must pro- 
bably have been produced, therefore, not until near the age of Philo, rather than have been com- 
posed by a contemporary of Aristobulus, or, as some claim, by Aristobulus himself The book 
Baruch, finally, which has as little to do with the old Baruch of the school of the prophets, as 
the " Letters of" Jeremiah " which it contains have to do with the old prophetic teacher, is very 
certainly quite a late post-canonical production. No one of these works — «and this is quite as 
true of the book Tobias, and the " Prayer of Manasseh," which exhibit at least some points of 
contact with the later Jewish literature of wisdom — reaches back even as far as the time of Ec- 
clesiastes, the latest production of the canonical or classical Hhokmah poetry. In their literary 
artistic character, and their religious didactic substance, the three works named above are distin- 
guished one from another in this, that the collection of gnomes by Jesus, son of Sirach, in regard 
to contents as well as form, appears to be mainly an imitation of the Proverbs, without, how- 
ever, attaining the classical excellence of its model; that, furthermore, the "Wisdom of Solo- 
mon," less rich in genuine theological and ethical substance, in its didactic form (as a monologue) 
and its free poetical appropriation of the person of Solomon, approaches Ecclesiastes quite as 
much as it differs from it in the, not sceptical but, Platonic speculative stamp of its argument; 
and that finally Baruch, which attempts to array the fundamental ideas of the doctrine of wis- 
dom in the form of the old prophetic admonitions, commands, and letters, reaches nothing better 
than a dull, spiritless reproduction of these prophetic forms, of as little theological as philosophi- 
cal value. 

Note. — The collection of proverbs by the son of Sirach, in spite of the occasional originality 
and beauty of its contents, still falls far below the poetic perfection and the theological ripeness 
of the model furnished by Solomon. It therefore cannot be regarded as a composition bearing 
the stamp of inspiration and worthy of a place in the Canon. These points are conceded even 
by several of the most recent defenders of the Apocrypha against the criticisms of the English 
Reformed School; e.g., Hengstenberg [Evaiig. Kirchen-Zeilung, 1853, Nos. 54 sq.; 1854, 
Nos. 29 sq.) and Bleek {Studieyi und Kritiken, 1853, II.). Bruch also, in particular, has 
commented very justly on the literary value of Ecclesiasticus as compared with the Proverbs. 
He says in his " Weisheitslehre der Hebrder," p. 273 : " The true Hebrew gnome did indeed 
stand before this sage as a lofty ideal. This was the goal toward which he pressed, but which he 
was not able to reach. Only now and then d'^es he attain in his proverbs the condensed brevity, 
the suggestive fullness of meaning, and the telling rhythm of proposition and antithesis, which 

* [A genealogy based on the assumed correctness of the first prologue to the Book of Ecclesiasticus has been constructed 
as follows: 1. Sirach. 2. Jpsus. son (father) of Sirach (a«Wior of the book). 3. Sirach. 4. Jesus, son of Sirach ((ransZator 
of the book). See B. F. Wesicott's articles, "Jesus, the son of Sirach," aud " Ecclesiasticus," iu SMlin's Dictionary of tht 


distinguish the Proverbs of Solomon. In many cases it is only with difficulty that he succeeds 
in comprehending a thought, in its rounded fullness of meaning, witiiin the narrow limits of a 
single jjroposition. Still less frequently does he bring corresponding members into a true anti- 
thetic relation. He usually carries out his thoughts through a series of complementary pro- 
verbs, which not seldom run out at last into dull prose. The true poetic spirit is altogether 
wanting to the son of Sirach. He fiequently expresses himself, it is true, in imagery, but then 
he heaps figure upon figure improperly, and in his similes falls into the inflated and fantastic. 
The quiet attitude of reflection would better befit the whole individuality of this Jewish 
sage," etc. 

Furthermore, that Sirach, notwithstanding his comparative lack of originality and independent 
creative power, was still no mere imitator of Solomon's Proverbs, but that besides this he made 
use of other collections of ancient and esteemed maxims, appears from some hints in his own 
book (e. g., xxiv. 28 ; xxxiii. 16). It appears also from the fragments of ancient Hebrew pro- 
verbs which still occur here and there in the Talmudio literature of the Jews, which fragments 
point to the existence of similar collections of gnomes by the side of and before that of the son 
of Sirach. Comp. Brijch, p. 274 ; Delitzsch, "Zur Geschichte dcr Hebrdischen Poesie,'^ pp. 
20i sq.; Bertheau, "Exeget. Handbuch zu den Spr. Sal.," Introd., pp. xlii. sq. 

In regard to the literary and theological character of the Book of Wisdom, in its relations to 
the canonical literature of wisdom in the Old Testament, comp. Bruch (the work above cited), 
pp. 322 sq., and Grimm, in the "Kurzgef. exegel. Handbuch zu den Apocryphen," Vol. 6, In- 
troduction ; and likewise Kuebel (Pastor in Wiirtemberg), " Die ethischen Grundanschauungen 
der Weisheit Salo77ios: ein Beitrag zur Apocryphenjragc" Studicn und Kriliken, 1865, IV., 
pp. 690 sq. 

In regard to the book Baruch, see 0. F. Fritzsche, in the "■KurzgeJ. exeg. Handb. zu den 
Apocr.," I., 167 sq., and Brtjch, in the work already cited, pp. 319 sq. [Dean Stanley [Jewish 
Church, II., 272) says of the Book of Wisdom : "It is one link more in the chain by which the 
influence of Solomon communicated itself to succeeding ages. As the undoubted ' Wisdom/ 
or Proverbs of Solomon, formed the first expression of the contact of Jewish rehgion with the 
philosophy of Egypt and Arabia, so the apocryphal ' Wisdom of Solomon ' is the first expression 
of the contact of Jewish religion with the Gentile philosophy of Greece. Still the apologue and 
the warning to kings keeps up the old strain ; still the old ' wisdom ' makes her voice to be 
heard; and out of the worldly prudence of Solomon springs, for the first time, in distinct terms, 
'the hope full of immortality ' " (Wisdom i. 1 ; vi. 1, 9; iii. 1-4; v. 1-5, etc.) — A.] 


So far as the entire literature of wisdom in the Old Testament can be treated as an organic 
whole, and this whole be viewed as the didactic part of the religious literature of the Old Testa- 
ment, as distinguished from its other main divisions, we recognize first a classical and a post- 
classical period [post-heroic, compared by the author to the age of the Epigoni in Greek legend. 
— A.] as the most strongly marked phases in the course of its development. And within each 
of these two periods there grows up side by side with gnomic poetry, or the Hhokmah litera- 
ture in the narrower sense, a similar literature of broader range. In the classical period, or 
within the bounds of the canonical literature of the Old Testament, the Hhokmah poetry in the 
strictest sense is represented by the Proverbs of Solomon, with their maxims of wisdom aiming 
to secure a conception and treatment of nature and of the life of man that shall be conformed 
to the will of God. Side by side with its profound, concise, vigorous, marrowy sentences we 
find the glowing delineations and soaring lyrical effusions of Solomon's Song, this glorification 
of the mystery of love, as it is contemplated from wisdom's point of view. The traditional 
triple chord in the harmony, — the trilogy in the drama, — of the writings ascribed to Solomon, 
is completed by the broader reflections to which the Preacher (Ecclesiastes) gives utterance 
concerning the nothingness of all that is earthly, and the duty of a cheerful but also grateful 
and devout enjoyment of life. Outside this trilogy, which contains at least one work not im- 


mediately from Solomon, we find some oilier products of the Hliokmah literature in the wider 
sense. There are the didactic Psalms of later date than Solomon, which m lat resemlde the 
Maschal poetry of the Book of Proverbs, since they are mainly nothing mare than f^nomes de- 
veloped in poetic form. And there is tlie Book of Job, thj dramatic form of whos'i dialo^^ue is 
analogous to that of Solomon's Song, while it reveals a certam internal likeness to Ec -lesiastes 
in its devotion to the problems of the day, although, at the same time it f^ives expression to 
many sceptical thoughts. 

Of the productions of the post-classical age, or the literature of wisdom contained in the 
Jewish Apocrypha, the collection of proverbs by the son of Sirach [Eoctesiasticus], represents 
the Hhokmah poetry in the narrower sense ; for it is a direct imitat on of the Proverb-i and in 
part a later gleaning from the same field. Of the writings which are to be classed here only in 
the broader sense, the Book of Wisdom parallel to Ecclesiastes. and Baruch to the 
Song of Solomon; still further, if one will, in Tobit a counterpart may be found for Job, and in 
the Prayer of Manasseh for many of the didactic Psalms. 

The Proverbs of Solomon appear therefore, as the central spring and storehouse of the gnomic 
wisdom of the Old Testament ; or, as the true and main trunk of the tree of Hhokmah poetry, 
widely branching and laden with fruit. And it is mainly on account of tliis radical impulse, 
and because of this main trunk, consisting so largely of eh-raents really furnished by Solomon, 
that the whole development deserves to be called in a general and comprehensive way an intel- 
lectual production of the wisest of all kings in Israel. 

Note 1.— Exhibited in a tabular form the above representation of the lit'-rature of wisdom 
in the Old Testament would stand somewhat as follows, — according to its genetic development 
and its organic relations : 

I. Classical or Hebrew canonical period of the Hhokmah. 

1. Hhokmah poetry in the strictest sense, or in the primitive form of the Maschal (the 

true gnomic poetry of Solomon) : 
The Proverbs. 

2. Hhokmah poetry in the broader sense ; or in various transformations and modifica- 

tions of the primitive type : 

A. The Mas-chal form transformed to dramatic dialogue : 

a) Solomon's Song, — a didactic drama, with strongly marked lyrical 

and erotic character. 

b) Job, — a didactic drama, with a preponderance of the ejoic character. 

B. The Maschal form expanded in monologue : 

a) Ecclesiastes, — a collection of reflective philosophical monologues, 

constructed from the point of view of the Hhokmah. 

b) The didactic Psalms, — specimens of the lyrical development of some 

fundamental ideas and principles of the Hhokmah. 

II. Post-classical period, or Hhokmah literature of the Jewish Apocrypha. 

1. True Hhokmah poetry, with a direct imitation of the old Maschal form : 


2, Hhokmah compositions in the broader sense : 

A. "With evident leaning toward the elder literature of the prophetic, or epic and 

dramatic style : 

a) Baruch. 

b) Tobit. 

B. With leanings toward elder didactic and lyrical compositions, reflective and 

philosophical ; 

a) The Wisdom of Solomon. 

b) The Prayer of Manasseh. 

Note 2. — The grouping of Proverbs, Solomon's Song and Ecclesiastes as a trilogy of com- 
positions by Solomon cannot be critically and chronologically justified. Nevertheless it finds 


its partial truth and justification in the fact that precisely these three works constitute the normal 
types of the entire literature of wisdom, in respect both to substance and form (see the Table in 
note 1). If they be contemplated ideally from this point of view, we cannot refuse to recognize a 
degree of truth in the old parallel drawn by Origen and Jerome between this trilogy, and the phi- 
losophical triad,— Ethics, Logic, Physics. Attention has been already called to this in the note to 
g 1. Compare also page 67 of the General Introduction to the Old Testament section of this Com- 
mentary, where the author has given a classification of the writings of Solomon, or, as he puts it, 
" of the general didactic system of Solomon," which likewise includes the above trilogy. 

An analysis of the literature of wisdom in the Old Testament which differs in several points from 
our own, while it also brings out clearly many correct points of view, is proposed by Bruch, pp. 
67 sq. I. Period before the Exile : a) Monuments of the practical philosophy of this period : Pro- 
verbs; 6) Theoretical philosophy: Job; c) compositions of partly practical, partly theoretical 
nature: the older didactic Psalms. II. Period after the exile : a) Practical philosophy ; Ecclesi- 
asticus ; b) Theoretical : Solomon's Song ; c) partly practical, partly theoretical ; the later didactic 
Psalms, and also the Book of Wisdom, which at the same time forms the transition to the Alexan- 
drian philosophy. 

By others the apocryphal literature is ordinarily excluded from the classification, and, on the 
other hand, all the lyrical poetry of the Psalter brought in, so that the result is a classification of 
all the poetical literature of the Old Testament Canon. See, e. g., Haevernick and Keil's 
Einle'dung, Vol. III., page 81, where the two great departments of lyrical poetry T^, and gno- 
mic poetry vE'O are distinguished, and to the first are assigned Psalms. Solomon's Song, and La- 
mentations, — to the latter, Proverbs, the discourses of Job, and the reflections of Ecclesiastes. 
Frederic Schlegel [Lectures on the History of Literature, 4th Lecture), and following him, 
Delitzsch (in Herzog's " Real-Encyclopddie," XIV., 716), propose two main classes of Old Tes- 
tament writings : 1, historico- prophetic, or books of the history of redemption, — and 2, poetical, 
or books of aspiration. 

The latter class, according to them, includes Job, the Psalter, and the writings of Solomon, and 
these correspond to the triple chord of faith, hope and love. For Job is designed to maintain faith 
under trials : the Psalms breathe forth and exhibit hope in the conflict of earth's longings ; the 
writings of Solomon reveal to us the mystery of Divine love, and Proverbs in particular makes us 
acquainted with that wisdom which grows out of and is eternal love. 

With reference to the position to be assigned to Proverbs within the circle of the poetical litera- 
ture of the Old Testament, these classifications are very instructive. And this is especially true 
of that last mentioned, which is as evidently correct in its exhibition of the relation-of Proverbs to 
Job and the Psalms, as it is defective with respect to the third of Solomon's writings, Ecclesiastes 
(which surely has very little to do with " the mystery of Divine love"). 

In one passage, J. A. Bengel (in his "Beitrdge zur Schrijterkldrung ," edited by Osc. Waech- 
TER, Leipsic, 1866, p. 27) expresses himself singularly in regard to the significance of the group- 
ing, that has been so long traditional, of Proverbs, Job and Solomon's Song in a trilogy. " The 
reason why Proverbs, Job and the Canticles stand together in the best Hebrew codices is this, — 
man standing under paternal discipline needs the Proverbs; when he has passed out from this 
into the fellowshi[) of suffering he needs Job ; after he has been perfected he enters into the unio 
mystica (mystical union) and comprehends Canticles." 


1 11. names of the collection. 
The superscription of the book which has been handed down in the Masoretic text, and which 
rests upon several passages of the book itself (see especially i. 17 ; x. 1 ; xxv. 1) is nD'7E' 'j'tr'? 
is more correctly rendered, not " Proverbs " [Spruchwbrter), but Sayings of Solomon [Spruche]* 

* I To speak of the Proverbs of Solomon, or any other one man, is, in the strict use of terras, a self-contradiction. 
A proverhium, a Spriicliwort, a proverb, is strictly an olil ami popular saying. Archbishop Trench (see Lecture I. in 
his valiiabli! little work " On the lessons in Proverbs ") speaks of "popularity — acceptance ami adoption on the part of the 
people," as " the must essential of all " the qualities of a proverb. A little later ho adds, " Herein, in great part, the force 


This corresponds with the Uapoiuiai of the LXX, and the Parabolce, not Proverbia, of the Vul- 
gate. For the word '^'^ does indeed sometimes describe proverbs in the true sense, or general, 
practical maxims, growing out of the spirit of a people and expressed in popular form (e. g., 1 Sam. 
X. 12; Ezek. xvi. 44 ; xviii. 2). But in itself it signifies only resemblance, likeness [simile, compa- 
ratio, napajSoAr/, napoi/iia) ; it is therefoi'e used, according to the peculiarity of Oriental poetry, to 
designate symbolical or parabolic apothegms, or poetic and philosophical maxims in the widest 
sense. [The verb vl^O is found with two quite distinct significations — to command, and to com- 
pare. Gesenius ( Thesaurus, s. v.), after proposing two different ways of deriving these from one 
primary radical meaning, suggests that possibly there are two independent radicals. Fuerst 
regards them as wholly distinct, the primary meaning of the one being " to be strong," of the other 
''to combine, connect, entwine." Some old commentators erroneously derive the noun from the 
first of these two verbal roots; e. g., Trapp (Comm. on Prov., i. 1) : " Master sentences; max- 
ims, axioms, speeches of special precellency and predominancy." — A.] Accordingly prophetical 
predictions (e. g., those of Balaam, Num. xxiii. 7, 18 ; xxiv. 3 ; comp. Is. xiv. 4 ; Mich. ii. 4 ; Hab. 
ii. 6), as well as didactic Psalms [e.g., Ps. xlix. 5; Ixxviii. 2) or sententious discourses of wise 
men {e, g., Job xxvii. 1 ; xxix. 1) are designated as W'l'dT^. In the special and predominant sense 
7tyo is however the designation of a maxim or gnome from within the sphere of the Hhokmah ; it 
is therefore the sentiment or the moral axiom of a Hhakam (see above, ^^ 2, 3). For it was just 
these men, the Hhakamim of the Old Testament economy, that exhibited their main strength iu 
.giving utterance to pertinent comparisons, and significant truths of general practical value, and 
who were accustomed to impart their instructions chiefly in the form of maxims (Prov. i. 7 ; xxv. 
1). An old synonym of the title "Book of Proverbs" or "Proverbs of Solomon" is therefore 
" Book of Wisdom " "^^Pl^ "^rl?- [Comp. Fuerst's Kanon des alien Tcstavienls, etc., 1868, pp. 73 
sq. — A.]. The book probably received tKis title now and then in the old Hebrew times. At any 
rate it is so called several times in the Talmud [e. g., Tosephoth to Baba Bathra, f 14, b), and amono- 
the earliest Fathers of the Greek Church, like Clement, Hegesippus, Iren^us, e^c, it received 
the name y navaperor an<pia [wisdom including all virtues]. Comp. Eusebius, Chh. Hist., IV., 22 
26, according to whom Melito of Sardis also gave the book a similar title, SoAo/zwi^rof napoifiiai. 7 
Kol I,oif>la [similitudes of Solomon, which is also wisdom]. Compare further the titles mipij jii jiloQ and 
TraiSnyuytK!/ aofia [" the wise book " and " instructive wisdom "] which Dionysius of Alexandria 
and Gregory of Nazianzum employ. We may therefore even now give to our collection of Pro- 
verbs the title of " Book of Wisdom," as well as the more common designation of " Proverbs." 
And this is all the more allowable, because this collection is far better entitled to be called a " Book 
of Wisdom " than the Alexandrian apocryphal work which has assumed the name ; it is also far 
more worthy than Ecclesiastes and Ecclesiasticus, to which old Jewish and Christian works not 
unfrequently apply the title in question (nODH, ^ixpia). 

Note 1. Haevernick (III. 386) and Keil (Inirod., ^ 117, p. 396) are in error when they 
dispute the opinion put forth by Bertheau, that the designation of the Proverbs as HODH t3D 
originated among the early Jews. The words of Melito quoted by Eusebius (passage above 
cited) are a conclusive proof of the correctness of this view, as they belong to a passage 
whose express object is to give the designations of the books of the Bible that were current 
among the Jews. Comp. Delitzsch (work above quoted, p. 712). 

Note 2. As synonymous with ^K'O there occur in the Proverbs of Solomon and elsewhere in the 
Old Testament the words HTH (Prov. i. 6 ; Ps. xlix. 5 ; Ixxviii. 2; Hab. ii. 6) and nvSp (Prov. 

of a proverb lies, namely, that it has already received the stamp of popular allowance." He calls attention to the Spanish 
name of the proverb, " re/ran, which is a referenda, from the oftenness of its repetition." The probable etymology of 
wopoifn'a, as " a trite, wayside saying," points the same way.— Dean Stanley (Jewisli Church, II., 267), illustrating the 
Bame view, says of the Proverbs of Solomon: "They are individual, not national. It is because they represent not many 
men's wisdom, but one man's supereminc-nt wit, that they produced so deep an impression. They were gifts to the people, 
not the produce of the people," etc. The adage, adagium, is of doubtful etymology; probably from ^^ ad agendum apta." 
The jrapa^oA>), from irapa-pa\Ku}, to cast or put beside, is in form a conparisoii, in purjiose au illustration. An instruciiv* 
and entertaining discussion of this subject, enriched with the amplest illustration, may be found in the London (^ua/terly 
Ktview, July, 186S. — A.] 


i. 6 ; Hab. ii. 6). The first expression, which properly signifies "enigma" (comp. Judg. xiv. 
14 ; 1 Kings x. 1, etc.), [Etym., knotted, involved, intricate, Gesen., Fueest, etc.\ stands for any 
dark, involved, profound utterance whatsoever; as in Matth. xiii. 35 the Dip. 'il/p HITn is 
rendered by KeKpvftfxeva (nrb KaTaf3o?.f/g (instead of the ■KpolilrjfiaTa air' apxvc oi the LXX). Cora- 
pare Augustine, who uniformly explains (enigma by obscura allegoria: corap. also Luther's 
"in einem dunklen Worte " [through an obscure word] for the phrase iv aiviyfian ["darkly," 
Eng. vers., — " by means of a mirror in riddles," De Wette, — " still darkly as in riddles," Van 
Ess, Allioli]. If therefore an, ethical axiom, a gnome or parable be designated as this HTn 
this is always done with reference to the deeper meaning hidden in it under a figurative veil 
(comp. in addition to the passages above cited Ezek. xvii. 2). Examples of these enigmatical 
proverbs [" dark sayings "] in our collection are to be found especially m the " words of Agur," 
in chap. xxx. Comp. the remarks on xxx. 15, 16. 

The meaning of H^'yO is disputed. According to Gesenius, Bertheau, and HiTZio it is 
equivalent to " interpretation," " discourse requiring interpretation," (comp. the aKorsLvog loyog 
of the LXX, Prov. i. 6). According to Delitzsch, Haevernick and Keil it is "brilliant or 
pleasing discourse," oratio splendida, luminibus ornata." [Fuerst adheres to the derivation first 
preferred by Gesenius (following Schultens) according to which p"? (obs. in Kal), Arab. 

^^ .signifies " to be involved, entangled," and used of discourse, " to be obscure, and am- 
biguous," — and n^'iD " figurative, involved discourse." Gesenius afterward developed the 
meaning of the noun from the radical idea of " stammering." — A.]. A sure decision can hardly be 
reached ; the analogy of "f ra, however. Job xxxiii. 23, Gen. xlii. 23, Isa. xliii. 27, etc., seems to 
speak for the first interpretation, to which the second may be appended, as appropriate at least 
for Hab. ii. 6. The radical word is then Y^l, torquere, to twist, — and HX 7O is properly ora- 
tio contorla sive difficilis [involved or difficult discourse], just as HTn (from Tn defledere 
[to turn aside]) is properly oratio obliqua sive per ambages [oblique or ambiguous discourse]. 

Note 3. With reference to the true conception of the "Proverbs" of Solomon as compared 
with the proverbs (properly so called) of the Hebrews, and of various other nations, see espe- 
cially Bruch, p. 103. " The maxims which are here collected (in the Proverbs) are a product 
not of the popular spirit of the Hebrews, but ot Hebrew wisdom. They have not sprung up 
unsought, but rather betray deliberate reflection. * * * * They do not lie separate and iso- 
lated, like the proverbs of a people, but rest upon certain fundamental conceptions, and together 
make up a whole. They bear the impress of the Hebrew spirit, but only so far forth as the wise 
men from whom they come themselves rendered homage to this spirit; in many other respects 
they rise, as their authors did, essentially above the spirit of the Hebrew nation. They contain 
rules for conduct in the most diverse conditions of life; but having a bond of connection in ge- 
neral truths, they reach far beyond the sphere of mere experience. Now and then they take a 
speculative flight, and give utterance to profound conceptions and doctrines of philosophy. * * 
* * All are clothed in the garb of poetry ; every where the law of parallelism prevails in them. 
That elevation of language which is characteristic of Hebrew poetry is apparent in most of them, 
while the true proverbs of the people are for the most part expressed in prosaic forms, and often 
in very common language. 

It is therefore altogether erroneous to compare this Book of Proverbs with the collections of 
Arabic proverbs ; it might be more fitly compared with the gpomic poetry of the Greeks. It is 
strictly an Anthology of Hebrew gnojnes." Comp. | 2, note 4. 

The comparison of the Hebrew Maschal -poetry with the sententious and proverbial poetry 
of the Arabs, although so peremptorily denied by Bruch, is not without its justification. See 
Umbreit's Commentary, Introduction, p. Iv., where the two Arabic collections of proverbs, by 
the grammarian Al Meidani (f 1141), are named as affording at least some parallels to the 
Proverbs of Solomon. Reference is made beside to H. A. Schultens' Anthologia sententiarum 
Arabicarum (Leyden, 1772), and to the collections of Erpenius, Golius, Kallius, etc. (in 


Schnuerer's Bibliolhcca Arahica, pp. 210-221) as furnishing such parallels in rich abundance. 
The latest and best edition of these collections of Arabic proverbs is that of Freytag, Arabum 
-proverbia sententkeque jvoverbiales, Bonn, 1838-43, which not only contains entire the collection 
of Meidani numbering above 9,000 proverbs, but also gives information concerning the 29 
collections of gnomes existing in Arabic literature before Meidani. Comp. also Haevernick and 
Keil, III., 381 sq., and Bleek's Introduction, p. 632, where among other things an interesting 
observation of Al Meidani is given, with reference to the great value of the proverbial wisdom ; 
" acquaintance with proverbs does not merely adorn with their beauties all circles of society, 
and grace the inhabitants whether of cities or of the desert; it imparts brilliancy to the contents 
of books, and by the allu'^ions which are hidden in them sweetens the words of the preacher and 
teacher. And why should it not? since even the word of God, the Koran, is interwoven with 
them, — the discourses of the Prophet contain them, — the most eminent scholars, who have trod- 
den the path of a mysterious wisdom have won this knowledge as their friend?" "Proverbs 
are to the soul what a mirror is to the eyes." Manifestly it is not common popular proverbs to 
which this enthusiastic praise refers, but maxims from the schools of the sages, and of a poetic, 
philosophic character, similar to those of the Old Testament, though mainly ot far inferior worth. 
(This is pertinent also as a reply to Delitzsch, p. 691, who following Ewald, declares the com- 
parison of the Hebrew with the Arabic collections of proverbs altogether inadmissible). 


.The collection of the Proverbs of Solomon in its present form opens with along superscription, 
•which, in the style of oriental titles, praises the whole book for its important and practically 
useful contents. This is followed by three main divisions of the book, of unequal length and 
distinguished by separate titles, to which are appended two supplements. The Ji7'st main divi- 
sion (chap. i. — ix.) subdivided into.three sections (chaps, i. — iii., iv. — vii., viii. — ix.) contains an 
exhibition of wisdom as the highest good to be attained. To the attainment and preservation 
of this in the face of the dangers that threaten the possession of it, — sensuality, impurity, adul- 
tery, etc., — youth in particular are admonished : and this is done in the form of instructions or 
admonitions, somewhat prolonged, and having an inward connection of parts, addressed by a 
father to his son, — and not in brief, aphoristically separated maxims. 

The second main division (chap. x. — xxiv.) again comprises three sections, not symmetrical 
but of quite unequal length ; a) chaps, x. 1 — xxii. 16, with the superscription HDW '^C^O; 
a collection of separate, loosely connected, and for the most part very short maxims, which in 
part depict wisdom and the fear of God, and in part folly and sin, according to their chief mani- 
festations and results ; and this they do without rigid adherence to a fixed train of ideas, with 
so loose a coherence of the individual sentences that either no connection of thought appears, or 
one merely external, brought about by certain characteristic words or terms of expression. 

b) chap. xxii. 17 — xxiv. 22; a Maschal introduced by a special injunction to hearken to the 
words of the wise (chap. xxii. 17 — 19), quite well connected in its parts, and evidently forming 
one whole ; this contains various prescriptions of equity and worldly prudence. 

c) chap. xxiv. 23 — 34; a short appendix, which by its superscription D'DDnS nbx OJ 
["these also are the words of the wise "], is described as the work of various wise men, no longer 
definitely known ; it consists of some maxims which, although nearly all having the form of 
commands or prohibitions, have no internal mutual connection. 

Then follows the third main division (chap. xxv. — xxix.) having the superscription, "These 
also are proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah, the King of Judah, collected :" — a 
collection of single, loosely grouped proverbs, among which are found an unusually large num- 
ber of pointed comparisons and antitheses. 

The two-supplements of the collection are, 1) chap. xxx. " The words of Agur the son of Jakeh," 
a compilation of maxims distinguished by their peculiarly artificial garb, and the partial obscu- 
rity of their meaning ; 2) chap. xxxi. bearing the superscription " Words of Lemuel the king of 
Massa, which his mother taught him.'"* Under this title (in regard to which we shall soon have 

* [For the various explanations of the verse see Coinui. on xxxi. 1]. 


more to say) the chapter contains a) a series of maxims for kings, and b) the praise of a virtuous 
matron, which is clothed in the form of an alphabetic song (vers. 10-31). 

That the collection as a whole is not the immediate work of Solomon, or in other words, that 
the introductory words of the first superscription (chap. i. 1) " Proverbs of Solomon, son of Da- 
vid, king of Israel," so far as they relate to the whole, design to claim the authorship for Solo- 
mon only in the most general sense, appears from the most hasty glance at our abstract of the 
contents. For apart from the fact that at the opening of the second main division there is a re- 
petition of the title " Proverbs of Solomon," — the last divisions, from xxii. 17 onward, are intro- 
duced by quite different superscriptions, two of which refer vaguely to " wise men" as the authors 
of the respective sections, and two to definite persons (although these are otherwise unknown), 
•while the one which contains again the expression " Proverbs of Solomon" designates as the 
" collectors " of these " Proverbs of Solomon " the " men " of a king of Judah who did not live 
until 300 years after Solomon. [Fuerst's inference from these diverse superscriptions and ap- 
pellations IS thus stated [Cayion des alien Testaments, p. 74) ; " that it is not the originating of 
all the proverbs with Solomon that was emphasized, though he be regarded as their main source, 
but only the aim and efi'ect of the proverbs to promote wisdom." — Dean Stanley, [uhi supra, p. 
268) says " as in the case of the word 'wisdom,' the connection of ' Proverbs' with Solomon can 
be traced by the immense multiplication of the word after his time." — A.]. And not only these 
diverse superscriptions, but various peculiarities of language, style, etc., such as present them- 
selves to the attentive observer in each section in a characteristic way, bear witness to the gra- 
dual growth of the collection under the hands of several authors of a later day than Solomon's, 
each complementing the rest. We might put the whole work of compilation to the account of 
the " men of Hezekiah," (chap. xxv. 1), and so assume that the maxims of Solomon, before scat- 
tered, and transmitted in part orally, in part by less complete written records, were collected, and, 
with the addition of sundry supplements brought into their present form by certain wise men 
from the court of the devout king Hezekiah (B. C. 727—697). The verb Y^^-^ '^^"^^^ ^^ ^^® 
passage cited above is used to describe the agency of these men, would well accord with this as- 
sumption ; for it signifies, not " appended" (Luther), but " brought together, arranged in or- 
der," in as much as p'^Hj^n properly means " to remove from its place, to set or place some- 
where ;" and in the passage before us it is rendered correctly by the k^eypdrpavro of the LXX , 
and the transtulerimt of the Vulgate, But the relations of the matter are not quite so simple 
that the whole compilation and revision can be referred to these wise men of Hezekiah. For 
from the quite numerous repetitions of whole proverbs, or at least parts of proverbs from earlier 
sections, such as occur in the division chaps, xxv. — xxix. (compare e. g., xxv. 24 with xxi. 9, — 
xxvi. 22 with xviii. 8,— xxvii. 12 with xxii. 3,— xxvii. 21 with xvii. 3,— xxix. 22 with xv, 18, 
etc.) it seems altogether probable that the preceding sections existed as an independent whole, 
before the attachment of chaps, xxv. sq. This is confirmed by the fact that certain characteris- 
tics noticeable in the structure of clause and verse, and many peculiarities of phraseology and 
idiom likewise indicate that between the sections preceding chap. xxv. and the last seven chap- 
ters a wide difference exists, and one that points to the greater antiquity of the first and largest 
division. Hezekiah's wise men appear therefore substantially as supplementing, or more exactly 
as continuing and imitating a larger collection of Solomon's proverbs already in existence before 
their day : and the existence of this they must not only have known but studiously regarded, for 
the great majority of the maxims and axioms there found they did not take into their new col- 
lection, but sought to present that which was mainly new and independent; in consequence how- 
ever of the similarity of the sources from which they drew to those of the earlier collection, they 
could not but reproduce much in a similar form, and some things in a form exactly corresponding 
with the earlier. [The Jewish tradition as given by Fuerst {uhi supra, p. 75) ascribes the col- 
lection of the proverbs of the first three sections, chaps, i. — ix., x, — xxii. 16, and xxii. 17 — xxiv. 
to the men of Hezekiah. And it finds this view confirmed by the very fact that the next sec- 
tion begins (xxv. 1) with the words "These also, are proverbs," etc. But the subsequent col- 
lection (chap, xxv. sq. is " continued" by them, the proverbs being searched out elsewhere and 
transferred to this place; " proverbs not hitherto publicly employed for the education of the peo- 


pie they brought into a collection, to be in like manner used as a collection of Solomon's pro- 
verbs." The " men of Hezekiah " he regards moreover as not all contemporaries and agents of the 
good king, but as organized into a "college," continued for literary, religious, and judicial pur- 
poses 280 years, seven full generations. This is Jewish tradition. — A.]. 

That the older collection is not however to be itself regarded as all of one casting, but likewise 
as a product of the activity of one or several editors collecting and combining from still earlier 
sources, appears from several facts. Within this section, as well as the later, instances occur of 
the repetition of single proverbs in an identical or analogous form (comp. e. g. xiv. 12 with xvi. 
25, — xvi. 2 with xxi. 2, — x. 2 with xi. 4, — xiii. 14 with xvi. 27, — xix. 12 with xx. 2, etc.). We 
have, besides, this fact, which is still more significant, that here again a diversity appears, 
marked by decided peculiarities of form as well as substance, between the two large subdivisions, 
chaps, i. — ix., and chaps, x. 1 — xxii. 16. In the second of these sections we find mainly verses 
symmetrically constructed, — so-called "antithetic couplets," — and each verse presents an idea 
quite complete and intelligible. It is the simplest and, as it were, the ideal type of the Maschal 
that here predominates; and since the simplest is wont to be as a general rule the most primi- 
tive, this fact suggests the conjecture that we are dealing here simply with genuine, original pro- 
verbs of Solomon. In other words, Chapters x. — xxii. 16 comprise the proper germ of the gnomic 
poetry of the Old Testament, lohich is in the strictest sense to be referred to Solomon and his age. 
In the two supplements to this central main division, chap. xxii. 17 — xxiv. 22, and chap. xxiv. 
23 — 34 we observe in respect to form quite another character in the individual proverbs, 
although in their ethical tenor and substance they correspond with the preceding. They lose 
something of the telling, pointed brevity, the inward richness of meaning, the condensed power, 
that characterize the earlier proverbs; and instead of " the rapid alternation of clause and coun- 
ter-clause " before every where perceptible, there is apparent here less uniformity of structure, 
and an effort to expand the brief axiom to the longer discoui'se, admonitory, didactic, or illustra- 
tive of some moral truth. Still more entirely is the simple and beautiful form of the Maschal, 
compact, pithy and symmetrical, disregarded and cast aside m chaps, i. — ix. These present no- 
thing but longer admonitory discourses, moral pictures full of warning, and ethico-religious con- 
templations of broader compass, in all of which the simple, short proverb is only exceptional, 
and " proverbial poetry evidently took the form of admonition and preaching, but for this very 
reason became much more flexible, flowing and comprehensible." The technical language of the 
Hhokmah appears here in various ways expanded and refined, — especially in the application of 
such full allegorical delineations as are contained in chap. ix. (in the description of Wisdom's 
house with its seven pillars, and her feast, — and also in that of the conduct of the n^S'p3 TllJfX 
the personification of Folly). The nearly equal length, moreover, of the three sections into 
which this entire admonitory address to youth is divided, (see the earlier part of the §), the quite 
regular and frequent recurrence of the 'Jl, " my son," which shows this to be its chief appli- 
cation, (i. 8 ; ii. 1; iii. 1, 11, 21 ; iv. 10, 20 ; v. 1, etc.), the adherence to certain leading thoughts 
through all the change and variety in expression and delineation, — all this points us to a single 
author, who different as he was from the author of the collection following (x. 1 — xxii. 16), de- 
signed to furnish an appropriate introduction to this collection of older proverbs, and to com- 
mend it to the Israel of his own time, especially to its younger generation. 

That the mutual relations of the various parts of the Book of Proverbs are to be judged sub- 
stantially in this way, most of the recent commentators are agreed. [This general view both of 
the structure and authorship of our book is taken by most of our English and American scholars, 
with some divergencies of course, in the details. Thus, Stuart, Noyes, Muenscher, W. Aldis 
Wright, etc. Stuart sums up his view of the authorship thus (Comm. p. 63): " Solomon se- 
lected many, composed others, and put together those which he judged to be true, most striking, 

and most worthy to be preserved It matters not how much of the book of Proverbs 

Solomon actually composed; we only need his sanction to what it now contains." Portions of 
the book moreover do not even purport to be Solomon's. — A.]. We may make an exception, 
perhaps, of H. A. Hahn, Haevernick. and Keil, who, in spite of all internal and external dif- 
ferences between the several sections, which they are forced to acknowledge, — in spite of the va- 


rious introduclory superscriptions, — still feel constrained to maintain Solomon's immediate au- 
thorship of the whole, with the sole exception of the two supplements in chaps. xx£., xxxi. (see 
especially Haevernick and Keil's Introduction, III., 392 sq.). [This is Wordsworth's posi- 
tion. It is moreover characteristic of him to look on the proverbs as having " also a tvpical 
character and inner spiritual significance, concerning heavenly doctrines of supernatural truth." 
He finds support for this view in the fact that the collection is in its introduction said expressly to 
comprise enigmas and dark sayings. — A.]. Inasmuch as this conclusion is made necessary neither 
by reasons, mternal or external, [in the book itself J, nor by any general theological interest in 
maintaining the inspired character of Scriptui>s, we must, unquestionably, adopt one of those 
views which represent the present collection as growing up gradually in the time between Solo- 
mon and Hezekiah, or even within a period ending somewhat later, and which disci'iminate be- 
tween an original nucleus that is from Solomon, and the accretions of various ages, which are due 
to later collectors and editors. 

The more imjDortant of these theories are (1) that of Ewald {Poet. Biicher des AUen Test., IV. 
2 sq.). According to this, chap. x. 1 — xxii. 16 forms the earliest collection, originating perhaps 
two hundred years after Solomon, yet inspired throughout by Solomon's spirit; to this were ap- 
pended, first, in Hezekiah's time chap. xxv. — xxix., which also contain much that is the genuine 
work of Solomon, — then, in the following century, the Introduction, chap. i. — ix., — then the 
supplements to the central main division, chap. xxii. 17 — xxiv. 84, — and lastly the supplements 
chaps. XXX., xxxi ; and all these last are to be regarded as the independent composition of un- 
known sagesof the later period before the exile, without any elements whatever that are Solomon's. 

We have (2) the view of Bertheau [Commentary, Introd., pp. xxiii. sq.). According to this 
it is as impossible to demonstrate with certainty an origin earlier than the days of Hezekiah for 
the second collection (chap. x. 1 — xxii. 16) as for the first (chap. i. — ix.), the third (chap. xxii. 
17 — xxiv. 34), or the fourth (chap. xxv. — xxix.); we must therefore in general maintain the 
merely negative conclusion, that the book of Proverbs in its present form originated after the 
time of Solomon, and that it flowed from sources oral and written that are perhaps very nume- 
rous. We have (3) the view of Hitzig {"Das Konigreich Massa" in Zeller's Theol. Jahrb. 
1844, pp. 269 sq., and Commentary, Introd. pp. xvii. sq.). This represents the present order of 
the parts as substantially that of their composition. It accordingly conceives of the first collec- 
tion (chaps, i. — IX.) as originating pretty soon after Solomon, in the 9th century B. C. ; it then 
appends to this, shortly before the times of Hezekiah, or in the first half of the 8th century, the 
second (chap. x. 1 — xxii. 16) together with the latter part of the fourth (chap, xxviii. 17 — xxix, 
27) ; to this it attaches " in the last quarter of the 8th century " the anthology in chaps, xxv. — 
xxvii., and about a hundred years later (at the beginning of the period following the exile) the 
intruded section, chap. xxii. 17 — xxiv. 34, and the fragment, chap, xxviii. 1 — 16 ; finally, at a 
still later day it adds the supplements in chaps, xxx , xxxi. 

We have (4) the view of Delitzsch (in Heezog's Encycl., as above quoted, especially pp. 
Y07 sq.), with which that developed by Bleek {Introd., pp. 634 sq.) agrees in the main point, — 
i. e., apart from some subordinate details in which it approaches more nearly the theory of Ew- 
ald. According to this the first and largest section of the Book of Proverbs (chap. i. 1 — xxiv. 
22) comes from an age earlier than Hezekiah, the second and smaller commencing with xxiv. 23, 
from Hezekiah's times. The compiler of the first half lived possibly under Jehoshaphat, within 
a ceniuiy of Solomon. As material for the middle and main division of this work, — the germ, 
the mam trunk, consisting of the genuine proverbial wisdom of Solomon as contained in chap. x. 
1— -xxii 16,— he availed himself above all of the rich treasures of the 3,000 proverbs of Solomon, 
which were undoubtedly all fully preserved to his day, and from which he may be assumed to 
have taken at least all that were of religious and ethical value. Still he appears to have ga- 
thered up much that is not from Solomon, and therefore to have united in one collection the no- 
blest and richest fruits of the proverbial poetry of the wise king, with the most valuable of the 
" side shoots which the Maschal poetry put forth, whether from the mouth of the people or the 
poets of that day." To this collection he prefixed the long Introduction in chaps, i. — ix.; a monu- 
ment of his high poetic inspiration, not in the strict form of the Maschal, but that of long poetic 
admonitions, — in which he dedicated the whole work to the instruction of youth. At the same 


time he added an appendix, chap. xxii. 17 — xxiv. 22, consisting of proverbs from various wise 
men, and commencing with an apostrophe to youth (chap. xxii. 17 — 21) the tone of which re- 
minds one of the longer Introduction. 

While according to this view the first and larger section purports to be essentially a book for 
youth, the second and shorter division, whose nucleus is formed by the proverbs of Solomon com- 
piled by the men of Hezekiah, is evidently a book for the people, a treasury of proverbial wisdom 
for kings and subjects, — as is indicated by the first, introductory proverb : " It is the glory of 
God to conceal a thing, and the honor of kings to search out a matter." After the analogy of 
the first collection, to these proverbs gathered by Hezekiah (or this treasury of " Solomon's 
wisdom in Hezekiah's days," in Stier's apt phrase), a sort of introduction was prefixed, chap. 
xxiv. 23-34, and a supplement was added, consisting of the proverbial discourses of Agur and 
Lemuel, and the poem in praise of a virtuous matron, in chap, xxx., xxxi. Thus, like the older col- 
lection of the proverbs of Solomon, this made by Hezekiah has '• proverbs of wise men on the 
right and on the left ;" " the king of proverbial poetry stands here also in the midst of a worthy 
retinue." As to the time of the origin of the second collection, we are indeed not to assume the 
reign of Hezekiah itself, but the next subsequent period. The personality of the collector of this 
second main division stands far more in the background than that of the author of the first, 
larger collection, who in its introductory chapters has given rich proofs of his o^yn poetical en- 
dowments and his wisdom. From which of the two the general superscription of the whole, 
chap. i. 1-6, has come, must remain a question ; yet it is from internal evidence more probable 
that it was the last collector who prefixed this to the book. 

We have presented with especial fullness this hypothesis of Delitzsch in regard to the ori- 
gin of the Book of Proverbs, because it is in itself the most attractive of all, and offers the most 
satisfactory explanation of the various phenomena that arrest the attention of the observant 
reader, as he considers the superscriptions and the internal peculiarities of the several parts. It 
is less forced and artificial than the theory of HiTZia, which shows itself arbitrary and hypercri- 
tical, especially in breaking up the section, chap. xxv. — xxix.; and it does not rest content with the 
mere negative results of criticism, like the analysis of Bertheau, which is also chargeable with 
excess of critical sharpness. In comparison with Ewald's hypothesis it has the advantage, that 
it rests upon a more correct conception of the order of the development of gnomic poetry among 
the ancient Hebrews. For it rejects as a one-sided and arbitrary dictum, Ewald's axiom, that 
the antithetic verse of two members which predominates in chap. x. 1 — xxii. 16, is the old- 
est form of the Maschal, and that all proverbs and gnomic discourses otherwise constructed, by 
their departure from the typical form betray their origin as decidedly later than the days of So- 
lomon. It accordingly allows that sections in which there is a preponderance of gnomic dis- 
«ourses and gnomic songs, — such as chap. i. — ix. and xxii. 17 — xxiv. 22, may come, if not from 
Solomon himself, at least from the age immediately after Solomon. It likewise recognizes in the 
collection that dates from Hezekiah's day proverbial poetry which is mainly the genuine work 
of Solomon, or at least stands very near his day, and whose artistic character by no means (as 
EwALD thinks) contains traces of a decay in purity and beauty of form that is already quite far 

Only in this particular are we unable altogether to agree with Delitzsch, that he would find 
in chap. x. — xxii. together with .a selection from the 3,000 proverbs of Solomon, much that is his 
only in a secondary sense. We believe rather that it is just this main division which contains 
nothing but fruits of Solomon's gnomic wisdom in the narrowest and strictest sense, and that 
repetitions of individual proverbs within the section, which are partly identical and partly ap- 
proximative, in which especially Delitzsch thinks he finds support for the view that we are now 
Combating, are to be otherwise explained. They are, like the repetitions of discourses of Christ 
in the Gospels, to be partly charged to diversity in the sources or channels of the later oral or 
written tradition, and in part recognized as real tautologies or repetitions which the wise king 
now and then allowed himself. We should, on the other hand, be disposed rather to conjecture, 
that in the supplements, chap. xxii. 17 — xxiv. 34, which are expressly described as " words of 
wise men," and perhaps also in Hezekiah's collection, chap. xxv. — xxix., there is no inconsiderable 
number of utterances of wise men of Solomon's time, such as Heman, Ethan, Chalkol, etc.; and 


this simply for the reason, that the superscriptions O'D^n '"l^T (xxii. 17) [words of wise men], 
and D'ODnS n|^X DJ (xxiv. 23) [these also are from wise men], together with the peculiarity of 
diction which points to a high antiquity, make such a conjecture reasonable. Th-e short section 
becrinnincf with the superscription last cited, chap. xxiv. 23-34, we should be most inclined, it 
concurrence with the majority of expositors, to regard as a second appendix to the first main 
collection, because the assumption of Delitzsch that it is a sort of Introit to the second main 
division, of the same age as the section, chap. xxv. — xxix., strikes us in no other way than as too 
bold and destitute of all adequate foundation. 

It remains only to speak briefly of the superscriptions to the two supplements 
in chapters xxx., xxxi. The "Agur, son of .Jakeh " (?) to whom the contents of chap- 
ter XXX. are accredited, is a wise man otherwise altogether unknown, whose era we are 
as unable to determine with certainty as his residence, whose very name is almost as difficult 
and uncertain in its interpretation as are the words next succeeding in chapter xxx. 1. 
bsNI bii'r}'iih Sx'n'xS 13Jn D^^ a^r^rt. Perhaps instead of the common translation of 
these words : " the prophetic address of the man to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal" [''even the pro- 
phecy ; the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal," E. V.], the interpretation of 
HiTZiG, adopted also by Bertheatj, Hahn and Delitzsch, should be followed. According to 
this, the words '!^p'^_^ |3 [" son of Jakeh "] by a change of punctuation are to be connected closely 
with the word Nfi'^n ; thus for the beginning of the whole superscription we reach this meaning : 
"Words of Agur, the son of her whose dominion is Massa " {ii^'Q nnp; |2), i. e., son of the 
queen of Massa. This queen of Massa we should then have to regard as the same person who 
in the superscription to the next supplement (chap, xxxi.) is designated as the " mother of King 
Lemuel." For in this passage also Nt^O must be regarded as the name of a country, and the 
aU'O "ijSiD [King of Massa] as perhaps an Israelitish Arab, or, as Delitzsch suggests, an Ish- 
maelitish prince, whose kingdom, to judge from the mention of it in Gen. xxv. 14; 1 Chron. i. 
30, must have lain in Northern Arabia, and whose brother would have been the Agur in ques- 
tion. [FuERST {ubi supra, pp. 76-7) regards Xt^^D as a common noun, singular in form, but col- 
lective in import, having ihe meaning common in the prophets, "a prophetic or inspired utter- 
ance." The symbolical meaning found here by Jewish tradition may be reserved for the exege- 
tical notes on this chapter. — A.] Further arguments in support of this interpretation (first pre- 
sented by HiTZiG in the Articles in Zeller's Theol. Jahrb., 1844, cited above, and adopted, al- 
though with various modifications, by the other interpreters whom we have named), and in re- 
ply to all conflicting interpretations, will be brought forward in the special exegesis of the pas- 
sages involved. We shall there have occasion to discuss the further question, whether the whole 
substance of chap. xxx. is to be referred to Agur, and all in chap. xxxi. to Lemuel, or whether at 
least the Alphabetic poem in praise of a virtyous matron must not be regarded (as is done by 
nearly all the recent commentators) as the work of another author. 


In the LXX there occur many, and in some instances very remarkable deviations from the 
common Hebrew text of the Proverbs. These consist in glosses to many obscure passages (i. e., 
either in readings that are actually correct and primitive, as, e.g., xi. 24; xii. 6; xv. 28 ; xviii. 
1 ; xix. 28 ; xxi. 6, 28, etc., or in wild emendations, as in xii. 12 ; xviii. 19; xix. 25 ; xxiv. 10, 
etc.), in completing imperfect sentences (as, e.g., xi. 16; xvi. 17; xix. 7), in independent addi- 
tions or interpolations [e. g., after i. 18 ; iii. 15; iv. 27; vi. 8, 11 ; viii. 21 ; ix. 6, 10, 12 ; xii. 
13; xiii. 13, 15, etc.), in double versions of one and the same proverb {e.g., xii. 12; xiv. 22; 
XV. 6 ; xvi. 26 ; xvii. 20 ; xviii. 8 ; xxii. 8, 9 ; xxix. 7, 25 ; xxxi. 27, in the omission of whole 
verses [e.g., i. 16 ; xvi. 1, 3 ; xxi. 5 ; xxiii. 23, etc.), and finally in the transposition of entire 
passages of greater length Accordingly, of the proverbs of Agur. the first half (chap. xxx. 1- 
14) is inserted after chap. xxiv. 22, and the second, chap. xxx. 15-33, together with the words 
of King Lemuel, after xxiv. 34 ; the two supplements, therefore with the exception of the praise 
of the excellent matron (chap. xxxi. 10 sq.) appear associated with the "words of wise men" 
which stand between the elder and the later collection of proverbs. 


These deviations are so considerable that they compel the assumption that there were (luite 
earh' two different recensions of the Book of Proverbs, one belonging to Palestine, the other to 
Egypt, the former of which lies at the basis of the Masoretic text, the latter, of the Alexandrian 
version. The Egyptian text appears in general to abound more in corruptions and arbitrary 
alterations of the original ; sometimes, however, it preserves the original most correctly, and 
seems to have drawn from primitive sources containing the genuine proverbial wisdom of Solo- 
mon. Especially is it true that not a few of the additions which it exhibits on a comparison 
with the Hebrew text, breathe a spirit, bold and lofty, as well as thoughtful and poetic (see, e. g., 
iv. 27; ix. 12; xii. 13 ; xix. 7, etc.) ; these appear, therefore, as fruits grown on the stock of the 
noble poetry of wisdom among the ancient Hebrews, — in part even as pearls from the rich 
treasures of Solomon's 3,000 proverbs (1 Kings iv. 32). 

Note 1. — The critical gain for the emendation of the text and for the interpretation of the 
Book of Proverbs that is yielded by the parallels of the LXX may be found most carefully tested 
and noted — though not without many instances of hypercritical exaggeration and arbitrary deal- 
ing — in Fr. Bottcher's "iVciie exegetisch kritische Aehrenlese zum A. T.," III., pp. 1-39; in 
P. DE Lagaede's " Anmerkungen zur griechischenUebersetzung der Proverbien" (Leipz., 1863); 
in M. Heidenheim's Article, "Zur Textkritik der Proverbien" [Deutsche Vierteljahrsschr. fur 
englisch-theol. Forschung, u. s. w., VIII., Gotha, 1865, pp. 395 sq.) ; as well as in the Commen- 
taries of Bertheau (see especially Introd., pp. xlv. sq.) and Hitzig (Introd., pp. xix. sq.; 
xxiii. sq.). The last mentioned writer has also thoroughly discussed the variations of the Sy- 
riac version (Peschito), the Vulgate and the Targum (pp. xxvii. sq.); of these, however, in ge- 
neral, only the first named are of any considerable critical value, and that usually only in the 
cases where they agree with those of the LXX. 

Compare furthermore the earlier works of J. G. Jaeger, Observaiiones in Prow. Salom. ver- 
sionem Alexandrinajn, Lips., 1786; Schleussner, Opuscula critica ad versiones Grcecas V. T. 
pertinentia, Lips., 1812, pp. 260 sq.; and also Dathe, De ratione consensus versionis Chaldaicce 
et Syriacce proverbiorum Salomonis (in Dathii Opuscc. ed. Rosenmueller, pp. 106 sq.). 

Note 2. — Umbreit in his Commentary has taken special notice of several other ancient Greek 
versions beside the LXX, especially the Versio Veneta, which is for the most part sti'ictly lite- 
ral. Another text which is likewise quite literal, which Procopius used in his 'Epuf/veia elg rac 
•n-apoiiuac, and which Angelo Mai has edited in Tom. IX. of his Glass. Auctor., may be found 
noticed in Heidenheim (as above). 

2 11. the poetical form of proverbs. 
The simplest form of the Maschal, or the technical form of poetry among the Hebrews, is a 
verse consisting of two short symmetrically constructed clauses, — the so-called distich [Zweizei- 
ler,)as Delitzsch calls it, following Ewald's peculiarly thorough investigations on the subject 
before us. The mutual relation of the two members or lines of this kind of verse shapes itself 
very variously, in accordance with the general laws for the structure of Hebrew poetry. There 
are synonymous distichs, in which the second line repeats the meaning of the first in a form but 
slightly changed, for the sake of giving as clear and exhaustive a presentation as possible of the 
thought involved {e.g., xi. 7, 25; xii. 28; xiv. 19; xv. 3, 10, 12, ete.). There are antithetic 
distichs, in which the second illustrates by its opposite the truth presented in the first [e. g., x. 
1 sq.; xi. 1 sq.; xii. 1 sq.; xv. 1 sq.). There are synthetic distichs, the two halves of which express 
truths of different yet kindred import {e. g., x. 18, 24, etc.). There are integral {eingedayikige) dis- 
tichs, in which the proposition commenced in the first half is brought to completion only by the 
Becond, the thought which is to be presented extending through the two lines (as in xi. 31 ; xiv. 7, 
10; xvi. 4, 10 ; xxii. 28). There are fmaWy parabolic distichs, i. e., maxims which in some form or 
other exhibit comparisons between a moral idea and an object in nature or common life : and this 
is effected sometimes by 3 [as] in the first clause and \3 [so] in the second, that is, in the form na- 
tural to comparisons, — sometimes, and more usually, in such a way that the proposed object and its 
counterpart are set loosely side by side, with a suggestive, emblematic brevity, with or without the 
copulative \ (xi. 22 ; xvii. 3 ; xxv. 25 ; xxvi. 23 ; xxvii. 21, etc.). In the central main division of 
the collection, chap. x. — xxii. 16, all the proverbs are these short distichs, and, as has been already 


said, the larger part of them (especially in the first six chapters of the section) antithetic distichs, 
distinguished by the " but " (Hebr. 1) at the beginning of the second line (compare 1 12, p. 27, and 
below, § 15). In the supplements to the oldest collection (xxii. 17 — xxiv. 3i) as well as in the 
gleanings of Hezekiah's men, there are found however not a few instances of the extension of the 
simple typical distich to a verse of several Unes, or of the multipUcation of the couplet to four-, six- 
er eight -lined verses.* 

In the case of these longer proverbs, which comprise several verses, we find repeated, if not 
every one, yet the greater part of the diverse relations of the first to the second half of the pro- 
verb, which we had observed in the distichs. There are, it is true, no antithetic stanzas of four 
lines, — but there are synonymous verses [e.g., xxiii. 15 sq.; xxiv. 3 sq.; xxiv. 28 sq.), — synthe- 
tic (xxx. 5 sq.), — stanzas with a shigle idea (xxii, 22 sq., 26 sq.; xxx. 17 sq.), — and paraholie 
verses (xxvi. 18 sq.; xxv. 4sq.). Specimens of the six-lined stanzas (which are constructed 
mainly with a single thought, or in the synthetic form) are to be found, e.g, in xxiii. 1-3, 12- 
14, 19-21, 26-28 ; xxiv. 11-12 ; xxx. 29-31. Verses 22-25 of chapter xxiii. compose a stanza 
of eight lines, synthetic in its structure. Side by side with this normal multiplication of the 
couplet to form stanzas of four, six or eight lines, there are abnormal or one-sided growths, re- 
sulting in triplets, with the first division of two lines and the second of one {e.g., xxii. 29 ; xxiv. 
3; xxvii. 22; xxviii. 10, etc.), — or in stanzas of five lines (xxiii. 4sq.; xxv. 6 sq.; xxx. 32 sq.), 
or in stanzas of seven lines, of which at least one example appears in chap, xxiii. 6-8. 

If the proverb extends itself beyond the compass of seven or eight lines, it becomes the Mas- 
chal (or gnomic) poem, without a fixed internal order for the strophes. Such a poem (or song) 
is, for example, the introductory paragraph [of one main division], chap. xxii. 17-21 ; and again, 
the meditation on- the drunkard, xxiii. 29-35 ; that on the lazy husbandman, xxiv. 30-34 ; the 
admonition to diligence in husbandry, xxvii. 23-27; the prayer for the happy medium between 
poverty and riches, xxx. 7-9 ; the prince's mirror, xxxi. 2-9, and the alphabetically constructed 
song in praise of the matron, xxxi. 10-31. 

The introductory main division, chap, i. 7 — ix. 18, consists wholly of these proverbial poems, and 
of 15 of them (see in § 16 the more exact enumeration of these 15 subdivisions, which may again 
be classed in three larger groups). Inasmuch as the rhetorical presentation throws the poetical 
in these cases usually quite into the background, these Maschal poems may almost be called with 
greater propriety Maschal discourses. Yet within these there is no lack of poetical episodes, lofty 
and artistic in their structure, among which we would name especially the allegory of the banquet 
of Wisdom and Folly (chap. ix. 1 sq.), and also the numerical proverb in eight lines concerning 
" the six things which the Lord hates and the seven that are an abomination to Him " (in chap, vi. 
16-19). Of these numerical proverbs, or .nnD, as they are called in the poetry of the later Ju- 
daism, chap. XXX., as is well known, contains several (vers. 7 sq., 15 sq., 18 sq., 21 sq., 24 sq.). 
In the Son of Sirach's collection of proverbs likewise we find several examples of the same kind 
(e. g., Ecclesiasticus xxiii. 16 ; xxv. 7 ; xxvi. 5, 28). Further observations on the origin and im- 
port of this peculiar poetic form may be found in notes on chap, vi, 16, Now and then the Book 
of Proverbs contains forms analogous to the Priamel [prcsambulum, a peculiar type of epigram, 
found in German poetry of the 14th and 15th centuries— A.] ; see, e.g., xx, 10; xxv. 3; xxvi, 
12 ; xxx. 11-14 ; yet this form is hardly found except in the most imperfect state. 

The last of the technical forms of the poetry of the Book of Proverbs is that of the Maschal- 
series, i. e., a sequence of several proverbs relating to the same objects, e. g., the series of proverbs 
concerning the fool, chap. xxvi. 1-12,— the sluggard, xxvi. 13-16,— the brawler, xxvi. 20-22,— the 

* [In English Biblical literature, Bishop Lowth's discussion a"nd classification has been the basis generally assumed. 
Wo know no clearer and more concise exhibition of this system and the various modifications that have been proposed 
than that given by W. Alois Wright in Smith's Dictinnary of the. Bible (Article Poetry, Uehrexv). Lowth who is closely 
followed by Stoart, Edwards and others, regards a triple classification as sufficient : synonymous, antithetic and synthetic 
parallelisms. An infelicity in the term synonymous, in view of the extent and variety of its applications, was recognized 
by LowTH himself, but more strongly urged by Bishop Jebd, who proposed the term cofrnnte. This appears to he a real im- 
provement in terms. Mcenscher (Introd., pp. xlv. sq.) proposes two additional classes, the gradational and the intro- 
verted, the first of which is well covered by the term corfnate, while the second, which had been proposed by Jedd. seems 
open to Wrioht's exception, that it is "an unnecessary refinement." This objection does not seem to lie against the new 
terms proposed In ZifGKLSR'a nomenclature. — A,] 


y — ~~ — "" ' ■ ' ~~ ~ " 

spiteful, xxvi. 23-27. This form belongs, however, as Delitzsch correctly observes, " rather to 
the technical form of the collection than to the technical form of the poetry of proverbs." That 
the former [the arrangement] is far more imperfect and bears witness to far greater indifference 
than the latter, — in other words, that the logical construction, the systematic arrangement of in- 
dividual proverbs according to subjects, especially within the central main division, is far from 
satisfactory, and baffles almost completely all endeavors to discover a definite scheme, — this must 
be admitted as an indisputable fact, just in proportion as we give fit expression on the other 
hand to our admiration at the wealth of forms, expressive, beautiful and vigorous, which the col- 
lection exhibits in its details. 

Note. — With reference to the connection of the several proverbs one with another, and also 
with respect to the progress of thought apparent in the collection as a whole, we can by no means 
concur in the opinion of J. A. Bengel, — at least in regard to the main divisions, x. 1 sq.; xxii. 17 
Bq.; XXV. 1 sq. The collection of proverbial discourses, i. 7 — ix. 18, being intentionally arranged 
according to a plan, is of course excluded from such a judgment. Bengel says : " I have often 
been in such an attitude of soul, that those chapters in the Book of Proverbs in which I had before 
looked for no connection whatever, presented themselves to me as if the proverbs belonged in the 
most beautiful order one with another" (Osk. Waechter, Joh. Albrecht Bengel, p. 166). We 
must pass the same judgment upon many other expositors of the elder days, who wearied them- 
selves much to find a deeper connection between the several proverbs (see, e. g., S. Bohlius, 
Ethica Sacra, I., 297 sq., "de disposilione et cohcsrentia textus;" and Stockee in the Introduction 
to his "Sermons on the Proverbs of Solomon"). In regard to this matter as old a commentator as 
Mart. Geier judged quite correctly :* "Ordo-frustra quceritur ubi nullusfuit observatus. Quam- 
quam enimsub initiuvi forte libricerta serie Bex nosier sua proiiosuerit, — attamen ubi ad ipsaspro- 
prie dictas parabolas aut g nomas devenitur, promiscue, prout quidque se offerebat, consignata vi- 
demus pleraque, ita ut modo de avaritia, modo de mendaciis, modo de simpliciiate, modo de timore 
Dei vel alia materia sermonem institui videamus," etc. As in the case of the great majority of the 
songs of the Psalter, in which the arrangement is merely and altogether external, determined of- 
ten by single expressions, or by circumstances wholly accidental, there is found among the germi- 
nal elements of the Book of Proverbs little or no systematic order. The whole is simply a combi- 
nation of numerous small elements in a collection, which was to produce its eflfect more by the 
total impression than by the mutual relation of its various groups or divisions. To use Her- 
der's language {Spirit of Hebrew Poetry, II., 13), it is " a beautiful piece of tapestry of lofty di- 
dactic poetry, which spreads out with great brilliancy its richly embroidered flowers," which, how- 
ever, is constructed according to no other rules of art than those perfectly simple and elementary 
ones to which the pearl jewelry and bright tapestries of Oriental f)roverbial wisdom in general 
owe their origin. Comp. furthermore the general preliminary remarks prefixed to the exegetical 
comments on chap. x. 


Inasmuch as our book, considered as an integral part of the entire system of the Scriptures of the 
Old Testament, stands before us as the central and main source of Solomon's doctrine of wisdom (in 
the wider sense), — and so bears as it were written on its brow its Divine designation to be the 
chief storehouse of ethical wisdom and knowledge within the sphere of Old Testament revelation 
(see above, \ 1, and \ 10, latter part) we must anticipate finding in it great treasures of ethical 
teachings, prescriptions, rules and maxims for the practical life of men in their moral relations. In 
fact, the ethical contents of the collection far outweigh the doctrinal. And deeply significant 
as may be its contributions to the development of individual subjects in dogmatic theology, such 
as are found in various passages (e. g.^ iii. 19 and viii. 22 sq. in their bearing upon the doctrine of 

* It is in vain to seek for order where none has been observed. For while perhaps near the beginning of the book our 
sing arranged his material with a definite plan, — yet when we come to the parables or gnomes properly so called we find 
the greater part recorded at random, as one after iiiiother suggested itself, so that we see the discourse turning now upon 
avarice, then upon falsehoods, again upon simplicity, and onco more upon the fear of God, or some other subject," 
«<c.— Ta. 



the creation ; — viii. 22 — ix. 12 as related to the doctrine of the eternal Word of God, and the doo» 
trine of the Hypostasis or of the Trinity in general ; — xv. 11 ; xvi. 9 ; xix. 21 ; xx. 27, etc., as con- 
nected with Biblical Anthropology ; or xi. 7 ; xiv. 32 ; xv. 24 in connection with the Old Testament 
doctrine of Immortality and the hope of a Resurrection, etc.); still, as a general rule, practical and 
ethical subjects are treated not only more thoroughly but with a far more direct interest. The 
book deserves much more the name of a school of morals, or of a Codex of Ethical Precepts for old 
and young, for princes and people, than that of .Archives of Dogmatic Theology, or a prolific Repo- 
sitory of dogmatic propositions and proof-texts. 

The dogmatic propositions do not, however, by any means stand in the midst of the greater 
wealth of ethioal teachings and precepts, isolated and interspersed without system. They form 
rather every where the organic basis. They give expression to the absolute and primary premises 
for all the moral instruction, knowledge and conduct of men. They appear therefore inseparably 
combined with those propositions that are properly of an ethical or admonitory nature. It is pre- 
eminently the central idea of the Divine Wisdom as the mediator in all the activity of God in the 
world and in humanity, that shines out bright as the sun upon this background of religious truth 
which is every where perceptible in the book, and that more or less directly illuminates every 
moral utterance. As this eternal Divine wisdom is the original source in all God's revelation 
of Himself in natural and human life, — as it is especially the mediating and executive agency 
jn the Divine revelation of the way of life in the law of the Old Covenant, and must therefore be 
the highest source of knowledge and the standard for all the religious and moral life of man, — so 
likewise does it appear as the highest good, and as the prescribed goal toward which men are to 
press. And the subjective wisdom of man is nothing but the finite likeness of the wisdom of 
God, which is not only objective, but absolute and infinite ; nothing but the full unfolding and 
normal development of the noblest theoretical and practical powers of the moral nature of man. 
It can be attained only by the devotion of man to its Divine original ; it is therefore essentially 
dependent upon the fear of God and willing subjection to the salutary discipline ("1D=ID, i. 2, 8 ; iv. 
1, etc.) of the Divine word. He who does not seek it in this way does not attain it, but remains 
a fool, an opposer of God and of Divine truth, who in the same ratio as he fails to raise his own 
moral nature by normal development to a living likeness to God, fails also to share in any true 
prosperity in the present life, to say nothing of the blessed rewards of the future. He who be- 
cause- of the fear of God strives after true wisdom, on the contrary unfolds his whole inner and 
outer life to such a symmetry of all his powers and activities as not only secures him the praise 
of a wise man in the esteem of God and men, but also establishes his true and complete happi- 
ness for time and eternity. 

A presentation of these fundamental ideas in the ethics of Solomon, well connected, systema- 
tically arranged and exhibited, cannot possibly be expected consistently with the note appended 
to the preceding section in reference to the composition of the Book of Proverbs. If we there- 
fore now endeavor to give a table of contents as complete as possible, following the arrangement 
of the Masoretic text and the ordinary division of chapters, we shall be quite as unable to avoid 
a frequent transition to heterogeneous subjects, as on the other hand a return in many instances 
to something already presented; we must in many cases dispense with even aiming at a strict 
logical order of ideas. We follow in the main the "Summary of the Contents of the Proverbs 
of Solomon," given by Starke at the end of his preface, pp. 1593 sq. Only with respect to the 
first nine chapters do we adopt the somewhat different summaiy and division which 
Delitzsch has given (pp. 697 sq.) of the "fifteen proverbial discourses" of the first main 


Chap. I. 1—6. 

Announcement of the author of the collection (ver. 1) of its object (vers. 2, 3), and of its 

great value (vers. 4-6). 

I. Introductory Division. 

Chap. I. 7— IX. 18. 

True wisdom as the basis and end of all moral effort, impressed by admonition and commenda- 
tion upon the hearts of youth. 

Motto: " The j ear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge ;" i. 7. 

1. Group of admonitory discourses; i. 8 — iii. 35. 

1. Admonition of the teacher of wisdom to his son to avoid the way of vice ; I. 8-19. 

2. Warning delineation of the perverse and ruinous conduct of the fool, put into the 

mouth of Wisdom (personified) ; I. 20-33. 

3. Exhibition of the blessed consequences of obedience and of striving after wisdom; 

II. 1-22. 

4. Continuation of the exhibition of the salutary results of this devout and pious life ; 

III. 1-18. 

5. Description of the powerful protection which God, the wise Creator of the world, grants 

to those that fear Him ; III 19-26. 

6. Admonition to charity and justice; III. 27-35. 

2. Group of admonitory discourses ; IV. 1 — VII. 27. 

7. Report of the teacher of Avisdom concerning the good counsels in favor of piety, and the 

warnings against vice, which were addressed to him in his youth by his father ; 

IV. 1-27. 

8. Warning against intercourse with lewd women, and against the ruinous consequences 

of licentiousness; V. 1-23. 

9. Warning against inconsiderate suretyship ; VI. 1-5. 

10. Rebuke of the sluggard : VI. 6-11. 

11. Warning against malice and wanton violence ; VI. 12-19. 

12. Admonition to chastity, with a warning delineation of the fearful consequences of 

adultery; VI. 20-35. 

13. New admonition to chastity, with a reference to the repulsive example of a youth led 

astray by a harlot ; VII. 1-27. 

3. Group of admonitory discourses ; VIII. 1 — IX. 18. 

14. A second public discourse of Wisdom (personified) chap. VIII., having reference 

a) to the richness of her gifts (vers. 1-21); 

b) to the origin of her nature in God (vers. 21-31) ; and 

c) to the blessing that flows from the possession of her (vers. 32-36). 

15. Allegorical exhibition of the call of men to the possession and enjoyment of true wis- 

dom, under the figure of an invitation to two banquets (chap. IX.), 

a) that of Wisdom ; vers. 1-12. 

b) that of Folly ; vers. 13-18. 

II. Original nucleus of the collection, — genuine proverbs of Solomon ; X. 1 — XXII. 16. 

Ethical maxims, precepts, and admonitions, with respect to the most diverse relations 
of human life. 


1. Exhibition of the difference between the pious and the ungodly, and their respective lota 

in life ; chap. X.— XV.* 

a) Comparison between the pious and the ungodly with reference to their life 

and conduct in general ; X. 1-32. 

b) Comparison between the good results of piety, and the disadvantages and 

penalties of ungodliness (chap. XI. — XV.), and particularly 

c) with reference to just and unjust, benevolent and malevolent con- 
duct toward one's neighbor ; chap. XI. ; 

/?) with reference to domestic, civil and public avocations; chap. XII; 

7) with reference to the use of temporal good, and of the word of God 
as the highest good : chap. XIII. ; 

rf) with reference to the relation between the wise and the foolish, the 
rich and the poor, masters and servants : chap. XIV. ; 

e) "with reference to various other relations and callings in life, espe- 
cially within the sphere of religion : chap. XV. ; 

2. Exhortations to a life in the fear of God, and in obedience ; (chap. XVI. 1 — XXII. 16); and 

in particular 

a) to conSdence in God as the wise regulator and ruler of the world; 

chap. XVI. ; 
(i) to contentment and a peaceable disposition ; chap. XVII. ; 
7) to affability, fidelitj', and the other virtues of social life ; ch. XVIII. ; 
6) to humility, meekness and gentleness ; chap. XIX. ; 
e) to the avoidance of drunkenness, indolence, quarrelsomeness, etc. ; 

chap. XX. ; 
C) to justice, patience, and dutiful submission to God's gracious control ; 

chap. XXI. ; 
v) to the obtaining and preserving of a good name ; chap. XXII. 1-16. 

III. Additions made before Hezekiah's day to the genuine proverbs of Solomon 

-which form the nucleus of the collection; chap. XXII. 17 — XXIV. 34. 

1st Addition: Various injunctions of justice and prudence in life; XXII. 17 — XXIV. 22. 

a) Introductory admonition to lay to heart the words of the wise; XXII, 

17-21 ; 

b) Admonition to justice toward others, especially the poor ; XXII. 22-29 ; 

c) Warning against avarice, intemperance, licentiousness and other such 

vices : chap. XXIII. ; 

d) Warning against companionship with the wicked and foolish ; chap. 

XXIV. 1-22. 

2d Addition, : chap. XXIV. 23-34. 

a) A''arious admonitions to right conduct toward one's neighbor ; vers. 23-29. 

b) Warning against indolence and its evil consequences : vers. 30-34. 

IV. Gleanings by the men of Hezekiah ; chap. XXV. — XXIX. 

True wisdom proclaimed as the highest good to Kings and their subjects. 
Superscription ; XXV. 1. 

1. Admonition to the fear of God and to righteousness, addressed to Kings and subjects ; 
chap. XXV. 

* The justification for comprehending tho contents of these chapters under the above heading is to be found in this, — 
that the so called antithetic Maschal form is decidedly predominant in them. Comp. above 2 !•!, p. 32, and also the gene- 
lal prefatory remarks \>'hich introduce the exegetical comments on chap. x. 


2. Various warnings : viz. 

a) Against disgraceful conduct (especially folly, indolence, and malice) 

chap. XXVI. 

b) Against vain sel^f-praise and arrogance ; chap. XXVII. (with an exhorta- 

tion to prudence and frugality in husbandry ; vers. 23-27). 

c) Against unscrupulous, unlawful dealing, especially of the rich with the 

poor; chap. XXVIII. 

d) Against stubbornness and insubordination ; chap. XXIX. 

V. The Supplements: chaps. XXX., XXXI. 

1st Supplement : the words of Agur ; chap. XXX. 

a) Introduction : Of the word of God as the source of all wisdom ; vers. 1-6. 

b) Various pithy numerical apothegms, having reference to the golden mean 

between rich and poor, to profligacy, insatiable greed, j)ride, arrogance, 
etc.; vers. 7-33. 

2d Supplement : The words of Lemuel, together with the poem in praise of the matron : 
chap. XXXI. 

a) Lemuel's jshilosophy for kings ; vers. 1-9. 

b) Alphabetic poem in praise of the virtuous, wise, and industrious woman ; 

vers. 10-31. 

Note. The more thorough presentation of the didactic substance of the proverbs is reserved 
for the exposition that is to follow, and especially for the rubric " Doctrinal and Practical." As 
the best connected discussion of this subject (biblical and theological) we should be able without 
hesitation to commend that of Bruch ( Weisheitslehre der Hehrder, pp. 110 sq.), if it were not 
characterized by the fault which pervades Brdch's treatise, so meritorious in other respects, — 
that in the interest of critical and humanitarian views it misrepresents the stand-point and the 
tendency of the Hhokmah-doctrine. That is to saj', it insists that there is in this attitude 
of mind a relation of indifference or even of hostility toward tlie theocratic cultus and the 
cerenionial law, like the relation of the philosophers and free-thinkers of Christendom to the 
orthodox creed. No less clearly does he insist upon the general limitation to the present life 
of every assumption of a moral retribution ; and in his view there is an entire absence of the 
hope of immortality from the view of the world taken in our book. For the refutation of 
these misconceptions of Bruch (which are undeniably in conflict with such passages as, on 
the one side, xiv. 9; xxviii. 4sq.; xxix. 18, 21; xxx. 17; and on the other xii. 28 ; xiv. 32; 
XV. 24; xxiii. 18, etc.), Oehler's able treatise may be referred to: " Grundziige der alttes- 
tamentl. Weisheit" (Tiib. 1854, 4) ; although this deals more especially with the doctrinal teach- 
ings of the Book of Job, than with Proverbs. See likewise Ewald (as above quoted, pp. 8 
Bq. ; Elster, g 1, pp. 1-6; Delitzsch, pp. 714-716, and even Hitzig, pp. xii. sq.) 


Beside the general commentaries (of which we shall have especial occasion to make use of 
Starke's St/nojjsis, the Berleburg Bible, .J. Lange's Licht icnd Recht, Wohlfarth and Fisch- 
er's Prediger-Bibel, the Calwer Handbuch, and Von Gerlach's Commentary) we must men- 
tion the following as the most important exegetical helps to the study of the Proverbs. Me- 
lanchthon : Explicati'o Proverbiorum, 1525 [Opp., T. XIV.); Rebast. Munster, Prov. Sa- 
lom.juxta hebr. verit. trcmslata et annotationibus iUustrata (without date); J. Mercerus, Comm. 
in Salomonis Proverbia, Eccl. et Cantic, 1573; IVIaldonatus, Conifn. m prcecipuos librosV. Tes- 
tamenti, 1643 ; F. Q. Salazar, In Prov. Sal. Commentarius, 1636-7 ; Mart. Geier, Prov. Sa- 
lomonis ctwi cura enucleata, 1653, 1725 ; Thom. Cartwright, Commentarii succincti et dilucidi 
in Prov. Sal , 1663 ; Chr. Ben. Michaelis, Annotationes in Prov. (in J. H. Michaelis, " Ube- 
riores annotationes in Haqiogr.V. Test, libros," 1720, Vol. 1) ; A. Schultens, Prov. Salom. 
vers, integram ad Hebr. fonteyn expressit atque coram, adjecit, 1748 ; {In compend. redegit et 


obss. critt. auxit G. J. L. Vogel, Hal, 1768-9) ; J. D. Michaelis, Die Sjyruche Sal. unci der 
Prediger ubs. mil Anmerkungen, fur Ungelehrte, 1778 ; J. Che. Doderlein, Die Spr'uche Salo- 
monis mil Anmerkungen, 1778, 3d edn. 1786 ; W. C. Ziegler, Neue Uehers. der Denkspriiche 
Salomonis, 1791 ; H. Muntinghe, Uehers. der Spr., a. d. Holland, von Scroll, 1800-2 ; Che. 
G. Henslee, Erlduterungen des 1 Buches Samuels und der Salom. Denkspriiche, 1796 ; J. Fe. 
ScHELLiNG, Salomonis quai supersunt omnia lat. vertit notasque adjecit, 1806 ; J. G. Dahlee, 
Denk-und Sittenspruche Salomos, nehst den Ahweichungen der Alex. Vers, ins Deutsche ubers. 
mil Vorrede vo?hBi,'EssiG, 1810; C. P. W. Geambeeg, Das Buch der Spriiche Sal., 7ieu iiber- 
setzt, systemat. geordnet, 7nit erkl. Aiun. u. FaralL, 1828 ; F. W. C. Umbreit, Philol.-Krit. tmd 
Philos. Comm. uber die Spriiche Sal., nebst einer neuen TJebers. Einl. in die viorgenl. Weisheii 
uberhaupt u. in d. Salomonische insbes., 1826 ; H. Ewald, die poetischen Biicher des A. 
Bundes, Th. IV., 1837 ; F. Maurer, Gomm. gram. crit. in Prov., in usum academiarum ador- 
natus, 1841 ; C. Bridges, An exposition of the Book of Proverbs, 2 Vols., Lond., 1847 [1 Vol., 
New York, 1847] ; E. Bertheau, Die Spriiche Sal. in the " Kiirzgef. exeg. Handb. z. A. T." 
1847 ; Vaihinger, Die Spr. Sal., 1857; F. Hitzig, Die Spr. Sal. ubers. u. ausgelegi, 1858 ; E. 
Elster, Comm. uber d. Salomonischen Spriiche, 1858. [Adolf Kamphausen, in Bunsen's 
Bibehverk, 1865]. 

[Besides the standard general Commentaries of Henry, Patrick, Adam Clarke, Gill, Oe- 
TON, Scott, Teapp and others, a considerable number of special commentaries on Proverbs have 
been written by English and American scholars. Among these are Bede, Expositio alUgorica in ■ 
Salom. Proverbia; M. Cope, Exposition upon Proverbs, translated by M. Outred, London, 
1580 ; P. A. MuFPET, a Commentary on the Proverbs of Solomon, 2d ed. London, 1598 ; 
republished in Nichol's Series of Commentaries, Edinburgh, 1868 ; T. Wilcocks a short 
yet sound Commentary on the Proverbs of Solomon (in his works) ; John Dod, a plain 
and familiar exposition of Proverbs (chap. ix. to xvii.), 1608-9; Jermin, Paraphrastical Me- 
ditations by way of Commentary on the whole Book of Proverbs, London, 1638 ; F. Taylor 
(Exposition with practical reflections on chaps, i. — ix.), London, 1655-7; Sir Edward Leigh, 
in his "Annotations on the Five Poetical Books of the Old Testament," London, 1657 ; H. 
Hammond, Paraphrase and Annotations, etc.; Richard Geey, The Book of Proverbs divided ac- 
cording to metre, etc., London, 1738 ; D. Durell, in his " Critical Pv-emarks on Job, Proverbs, 
etc., Oxford, 1772; T. Hunt, Observations on several passages, etc., Oxford, 1775 ; B. Hodgson, 
The Proverbs of Solomon translated from the Hebrew, Oxford, 1788 ; G. Holden, An Attempt 
towards an Improved Translation, etc., Liverpool, 1819; G. Lawson, Exposition of the Book of 
Proverbs, Edinb., 1821 ; R. J. Case, Comm. on the Proverbs of Solomon, London, 1822 ; French 
and Skinner, a new translation, etc., Camb., 1831 ; W. Newman, The Proverbs of Solomon, an 
improved version, London, 1839; B. E. Nicholls, The Proverbs of Solomon explained and illus- 
trated, London, 1842 ; G. R. Noyes, in his " New Translation of the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and 
the Canticles," etc., Boston, 1846 ; M. Stuart, Commentary on the Book of Proverbs, Andover, 
1852 ; J. Muenscher, The Book of Proverbs in an amended Version, etc., Gambler, 1866 ; Che. 
WoEDSWOETH, Vol. IV., Part III. of his Commentary on the Bible, London, 1868.] 

Jev/ish Rabbinic Expositions; Ant. Giggejus, In Proverbia Salomonis commentarii trium 
Babbinorum; Sal. Isacidis, Abr. Aben Ezrcc, Levi hen Ghersom, quos A. Gigg, interpret, est, cas- 
tig., illustr., Mediolan, 1620. Of the more recent Rabbinical commentaries, that in Hebrew by 
LowENSTEiN, Frkft. a. M., 1838, is of special importance, and also that by L. Dukes, in Cohen's 
Commentary (Paris, 1847 ; Proverbes), where the earlier expositions of learned Jews upon our 
book, 38 in all, from Saadia to Lowenstein, are enumerated and estimated. 

Literature in Monographs. 1. Critical and exegetical : J. F. Hoffmann and J. Th. 
Speenger,. Observationes ad quosdam loca Proverbb. Sal, Tubing. 1776 ; * J. J. Reiske, Con- 
jecturoi in Jobum et Prow. Salom., Lips. 1779 ; A. S. Arnoldi, Zur Exegetik und Kritik des A. 
Tests., 1. Beitrag ; Anmerkurigen iiber einzelne Stellen d. Spr. Sal., 1781 ; J. J. Bellermann, 
JEnigmata hebraica, Prov. xxx. 11 sq., 15 sq., explicata, spec. 1-3, Erford. 1798-9; H. F. 

* In Umbreit (p. Ixvi.) and in Kkil (p. 395)Ciir. Fr. Sciixurrer is incorrectly named as fho author of this little trea- 
tise. It was rather a dissertation defended by the scholars above named under Scbnuerer's rectorate. 


MuEHLAU, De proverbiorum quce dicuntur Aguri et Lemuelis (Prov. xxx. 1 — xxxi. 9) oriqine 
atque indole, Leips., 1869. — Compare moreover the works already named in § 13, notel, among 
which especial prominence should be given to Fe. Bottcher's " Neue exegetisch-kritische 
Aehrenlese z. A. Test. (Abth. III., herausg. von. F. Muehlau, Lips. 1865), as likewise to the 
treatises which are there mentioned by P. de UiiGAEDE and M. Heidenheim (the former iud». 
ing somewhat too unfavorably of the LXX, the latter in some cases contesting the exao-aerations 
of the former, and in other instances reducing them to their proper measure) ; for these are 
important aids to the criticism and exegesis of single passages. 

2. Practical and Homiletical : Sam. BoHLitrs, Ethica sacra, Post. 1640 (compare note to § 1) ; 
J. Stocker (Pastor at Eisleben, died in 1649) Sermons on the Proverbs of Solomon ; Oetinger, 
Die Wahrheit des sensus communis in den Spruchen und dem Prediger Salomonis, Stuttg., 
1753; Stattdenmaier, Die Lehrevon der Idee (1840), pp.37 sq. (valuable observations on 
Prov. viii. 22 sq.) ; C. I. Nitzsch, on the essential Trinity of God, Theod. Stud. u. Krit., 1841, 
II., 295 (on the same passage; see especially pp. 310 sq.); R. Stier, Der Weise ein Kbnig, So- 
lomon's Proverbs according to the compilation of the men of Hezekiah (chap. xxv. — xxix.), ex- 
pounded for the School and the Life of all times, Barmen, 1849 (the same work also elaborated for 
the laity, under the title " Solomon's wisdom in Hezekiah's days ") ; same author : " The Politics 
of Wisdom in the words of Agur and Lemuel," Prov. xxx. and xxxi. Timely scriptural exposi- 
tion for every man, with an appendix for scholars, Barmen, 1850. [In English no other recent 
work of. this sort can be compared with Arnot's " Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth," 2d edn. 
Lond., 1866. Bishop Hall's " Characters of Virtues and Vices," London, 1609, is designed to be 
an epitome of the Ethics of Solomon. R. Wardlaw : Lectures on the Book of Proverbs (a 
posthumous publication), 3 Vols., London, 1861]. 



General Superscription to the Collection. 

Announcement of the Author of the Collection, of its Object, and of its great value. 

Chap. I. 1-6. 

1 Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, 
the King of Israel : 

2 to become acquainted with wisdom and knowledge, 
to comprehend intelligent discourse, 

3 to attain discipline of understanding, 
righteousness, justice and integrity, 

4 to impart to the simple prudence, 

to the young man knowledge and discretion; — 

5 let the wise man hear and add to his learning, 
and the man of understanding gain in control, 

6 that he may understand proverb and enigma, 
words of wise men and their dark sayings. 

Introductory Section. 

True wisdom as the basis and end of all moral effort, impressed by admonition and commendation upon the 

hearts of youth. 

Chap. I. 7— IX. 18. 

7 The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge ; 
wisdom and discipline fools despise. 

First group of Admonitory or Gnomic Discourses. 

Chap. I. 8— III. 35. 

1. The teacher of wisdom admonishes his sou to avoid the way of viee. 

Chap, I. 8-19. 

8 Hearken, my son, to thy father's instruction, 
and refuse not the teaching of thy mother ; 

9 for they are a graceful crown to thy head, 
and jewels about thy neck. — 

10 My son, if sinners entice thee, 
consent thou not ! 



11 If they say, "Come with us, and we will lie in wait for blood, 
will plot against the innocent without cause; 

12 we will swallow them, like the pit, living, 

and the upright, like those that descend into the grave; 

13 we will find all precious treasure, 
will fill our houses with spoil ! 

14 Thou shalt cast in thy lot among us ; 
one purse will we all have !" 

15 My son ! go not in the way with them, 
keep back thy foot from their path ! 

16 For their feet run to evil, 
and haste to shed blood ; 

17 for in vain is the net spread 

before the eyes of all (kinds of) birds: 

18 and these watch for their own blood, 
they lie in wait for their own lives. 

19 Such are the paths of every one that grasps after unjust gain; 
from its own master it taketh the life. 

Chap. I. 20-33. 

2. Warning delineation of the perverse and ruinous conduct of the fool, put into the mouth of 

wisdom (personified). 

20 Wisdom crieth aloud in the streets, 

on the highways she maketh her voice heard : 

21 in the places of greatest tumult she calleth, 

at the entrances to the gates of the city she giveth forth her words : 

22 " How long, ye simple, will ye love simplicity, 
and scorners delight in scorning, 

and fools hate knowledge ! 

23 Turn ye at my reproof! 

Behold I will pour out upon you my spirit, 
my words will I make known to you! 

24 Because I have called and ye refused, 

I stretched out my hand, and no man regarded it, 

25 and ye have rejected all my counsel, 
and to my reproof ye have not yielded ; 

26 therefore will I also laugh at your calamity, 
will mock when your terror cometh ; 

27 when like a storm your terror cometh, 

and your destruction sweepeth on like a whirlwind, 
when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 

28 Then will they call upon me, and I not answer, 
they will seek me diligently and not find me. 

29 Because they have hated sound wisdom 
and have not desired the fear of Jehovah, 

30 have not yielded to my counsel 
and have despised all my reproof, 

31 therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their way 
and be surfeited with their own counsels. 

32 For the perverseness of the simple shall slay them, 
and the security of fools destroy them : 

33 he, however, who hearkeneth to nic shall dwell secure, 
and have rest without dread of evil !" 

CHAP. I. 1-33. 4S 


Ver. 2. [We have iu vers. 2, 3, 4, 6 final clauses, introduced by 7, and indicating the object with which these wise 

sayings are recorded. That purpose is disciplinary, first with reference to " the young man," and then to him who is 
already "wise." This discipline is contemplated not from the point of view of him who imparts, but that of those who 
receive it. These considerations determine our choice of words in translating several of the terms employed. Thus in 

ver. 2 we render ni/l7 not "to know," as this suggests the finished result rather than the process, which is "to become 

acquainted with, to acquire ;" so ZiicKLER, zii erkennen ; De VVktte, kennen zu lernen ; Notes, "from which men may learn;" 
a little less definitely, E. V., "to know;" incorrectly IIolden, "respecting the knowledge." These wise sayings are to 
guide to and re.-sult in knowledge ; but the verbs, except iu ver. 4, represent not the teaching, imparting, communicat- 
ing, but the discerning and seizing. In respect to the two shades of meaning to be given to TOO see the exeg. notes. 


Gesen. and Fuerst agree in the etymology (ID') ; Fuerst, however, carries back the radical meaning one step farther; G., 
"to chastise, correct, instruct;" F., "to bind or restrain, chastise," etc. It should, therefore, be borne in mind that more 
than the imparting of information is intended by the word, it is discipline, sometimes merely intellectual but more fre- 
quently moral. — r\y2 ^TON. I't., "words of discernment," "words of understanding" (so E. V., Notes, Muenscher); 

T • ** : • 
Stuart, " words of the intelligent;" De Wettb like Zockler, "verstandiffe Keden;'" V.tN Ess and Alliou, with whom 
HoLDEN seems to agree, "die Wurle (Megeln) der Klugheit," "the words (rules) of prudence." — A.]. 

Ver. 3. [73t;/n TDOi — our author's conception (see exeg. notes) corresponds with that of Fuerst also, who makes 

the genitive not merely objective, as DeWette, etc., seem to do (" discipline of understanding," "die Zucht der Vernunft"), 
but makes it final, contemplating the end : Fuerst, " Z. zur Besonnenheil," Zocklkr, '^ einsichtsvoUe Zucht," discipline full 
of discernment, insight, understanding, i. e., in its results. The rendering of most of our English expositors is ambigu- 
ous or suggests other ideas: E. V. and Muenscher, "instruction of wisdom;" IIolden, "instruction in wisdom,;" Notes, 
" the instruction of prudence;" Stcart, "of discreetness." — D'TC'D) plural of that which is "ideally extended" and plea- 

• T " 

surable; Bottoher, Aitsf. Lehrh.. § 699. — A.]. 

Ver. 5. [E. V., followed by Holden and Muenscher, "a wise man will hear ;" Notes, "may hear;" Stuart, more forci- 
bly, "let the wise man listen," like our author, " es hure," and Bottoher (^ 950, d.," Fiens debitum") " es soil horen." 
De Wette makes this a final clause, like those of the three preceding verses, "dass der Weise hijre ;" but see exeg. notes, 
no VI is given by Bottoher (J 964, 2) as an illustration of the "consultive" use of the Jussive; Stuart makes it au ordi- 
nary Imperf., and renders " and he will add;" but his explanations are not pertinent; the 1 need not be "conversive," it ia 
simply copulative, and flQV which he assumes as the normal Imperf., is already a Jussive. — A.]. np7. properly that 
■which is "taken, received, transmitted" (comp. the verb Hp/i "to attain," above in ver. 3) is like the Aram. ri73p (from 
l2p, to take), and like the Latin traditio [in its passive sense]. The parallel term nibsnp (from 7jn> to lead, accord- 
ing to the analogy of the Arabic, and cognate with /DH. cable, and 73n> steersman) is by the LXX correctly rendered 

by KUj3e'pi'7]<7is. 

Ver. 6. Luther's translation of the 1st clause, " that he may understand proverbs and their interpretation," cannot 
possibly be right; for Hi'^^O, if it was designed to convey any other idea than one parallel to 71^0 could not on any 

T • : T T 

principle dispense with the suffix of the 3d person (1f\-), its, comp. Vulgate: " animadvertat parabolamel interpretationem.^' 


[This is also the rendering of the E. V., which is followed by Holden, while Notes, Stuart, Muenscher and Words- 
worth, De Weite and Van Ess agree with the view taken by our author. — A.]. 

Ver. 7. Q'^'IX. derived from ^)H, crassus fuit; to be gross or dull of understanding ; — Gesen., however, derives it 

from the radical idea " to be perverse, turned away," and Fuerst " to be slack, weak, lax or lazy." [Wordsworth adopts the 
latter explanation — A.]. 

Ver. 8. [The different renderings given to the verb of the 2d clause while agreeing in their substantial import, "for- 
sake," " neglect," " reject," do not reproduce with equal clearness the radical idea, which is that of " spreading," then of 
" scattering." — A ]. 

Ver. 10. X3n, scriptio defectiva, for N3NJ^i as some 50 MSS. cited by Kennioott and De Rossi in fact read, while some 

others prefer a different pointing >?jr\~7X [thou shalt not go], which is however an unwarranted emendation. The 

T ~ 

LXX had the correct conception : ;u.i) ^ouArjSijs, and the Vulgate : ne acquiescas. — [Comp. Green's Heb. Gram., g 111, 2, b, 
and § 177, 3. Bottoher discusses the form several times in different conuections, ^^ 325, d, and n. 2, — 429, B, and 1164, 3, 

b, — and after enumerating the six forms which the MSS. supply, X13ri- N3i^i HDNn, N3Xn, lUn, and NJIi^ de- 

T T 

cides that the original form, whose obscurity suggested all these modifications, was X3n = 3Nn. In signification ho 

classes it with the "dehortative" Jussives. — A.]. 

Ver. 11. [E. v., NoTKS, Wordsworth, Luther, Van Ess agree with one another in connecting the adverb with the 
verb, while De Wette, Holden, Stuart, Muenscher regard it as modifying the adjective, " him whose innocence is of no 
avail to protect him." — A.]. 

Ver. 12. [E. V., Stuart and Muenscher, like our author connect □'"n with the object of the main verb; Umbreit 

and HiTziG (see exeg. notes) are followed by De Wette, Holden, Notes in connecting it with the comparative clause. — 
113 'Tl V, for construction see e. g., Green, gg 2V1, 2 and 254, 9, b. — A.]. 

Ver. 16. [:|3f^T, masc. verb with feminine subject; Bott., g 936, II., C. a; Green, § 275, 1. c— A.]. 


Ver. 20. The Wisdom who is here speaking is in this verse called niODH. which is not a plural but "a new abstract 

: T . . 

derivative from nODH. formed with the ending JIVHEwald, g 165, c; a form which is also found e. g., in jlionn. Ps. 

T : T : 

Ixxviii. 15. The niinie recurs in the same form in ix. 1 ; xxiv. 7. [P()TTCher. however, regards this as an example of the 
pluralis extens.. to denote emphatically " true wisdom." See g 679, d, 689, C., b, 700, c and n. 4. There is no difficulty in 
connecting a verb fern. sing, with a subject which although plural in form is singular in idea. — A.]. — H^^Pi crieth aloud, 

T T 

from ni, comp. Lam. ii. 19; 3d sing. fern, as also in viii. 3 (Ewald, 191, c). [Comp. Green, g 97, 1, a, and Bijii., g 929, d, 

I - T 

■who witli his usual minuteness endeavors to trtice the development of this idiom. — A.]. 

Ver. 21. ZiJciiLER, an dm tiirmrolhten Orlen : De VVftte, an der Ecke Uirmender Strassen; Fuerst, der bewegten Strassen ; 
Holden, like the Eng. Ver., in the chief place of concourse. 



Ver. 22. [For the vocalization of OHXH aee Green, §§ 60, 3, c. 111, 2, e. For the use of the perfect nOtl see 

BoTT., ^ 94S, 2. lie illustrates by such classical perfects as cyvuxa, otSa. ^l.€>aa, memini. novi, aud renders this form by 
concupiverml. — A.]. 

Ver. 23. [n>?^3Xi an fnstance of the intentional Imperf., in what Bottcher calls its " voluntative" signification, — 

g 965, 1,-A.]. 

Ver. 27. [niXi:'3, K'ri HXIti'D, the former derived from IXt^ or TMilll, the latter from Xll!?, of which verbs the 
T-:- : T : 

latter is ol)solete except in derivatives, while the former occurs in one passage in Is. in the Niphal. The signification 
seems to be one and tUe forms variations growing out of the weakness of the 2d aud 3d radicals. Comp. boTT., J^ Hi, a, 
and 811, 2.— A.]. 

Instead of the Infin. Xi33. we have in the 2d member, since 3 is not repeated, the Imperf. PinX' (Ew.uj), 337, b) 

[Stdart, § 129, 3, n. 2].— A. 

Ver. 28. ['JJXTp^> ^JJTHU'') 'JJXVO'. These are among the few instances in which the full plural ending U is 

found before sulli.ves. Green, j 105, c, BiiTT.. § 1047,/. — A.]. 

Ver. 29. For the use of ''2 DTM^, " therelore because," compare Deut. xxxiv. 7, and also the equivalent combination 

lE'K r>nn in 2 Kings xxii. 7 ; 2 Chron. xxi. 12. 


1. Vers. 1-6. The superscription to the col- 
lection, which is quite long, as is common with 
the titles of Oriental books, is not designed to be 
a "table of contents" (Umbreit), nor to give 
merely the aim of the book (so most commenta- 
tors, especially Ewalu, Bertheau, Elster, etc.). 
But beside the author of the book (ver. 1 ), it is 
intended to give first its design (vers. 2, 3), and 
then, in addition, its worth and use (vers. 4-6), 
and so to commend the work in advance as salu- 
tary and excellent (Starice, Delxtzsch). Ac- 
cordingly it praises the book as a source of 
wholesome and instructive wisdom: 1) for the 
simple-minded and immature (ver. 4) ; 2) for 
those who are already wise and intelligent, but 
who are to gain still more insight and under- 
standing from its maxims and enigmas (vers. 5, 
6). — Proverbs of Solomon, elc. — In regard to 

the primary meaning of bUD, and in regard to 
the special signification which prevails here in 
the superscription, "Proverbs of Solomon" 
(maxims, aphorisms, not proverbs [in the cur- 
rent and popular sense]), see Introd., §11. — 
To become acquainted with wisdom and 
knowledge.— In respect to HODH and its sy- 
nonyms {^y2 and n^n) consult again the Introd., 
g 2, note 3. "1D13 properly " chastisement," sig- 
nifies education, moral training, good culture 
and habits, the practical side, as it were, of wis- 
dom (LXX: naLSeia; Vulg.: disciplina). In 
ver. 2 the expression stands as synonymous with 
"wisdom" (HODn), as in iv. 13 ; xxiii. 23, and 
frequently elsewhere ; in ver. 3, on the contrary, 
it designates an element preparatory to true 
wisdom and insight, — one serving as their foun- 
dation, and a preliminary condition to them. 
For the "discipline of understanding" (1D=I0 

73tyri, ver. 3) is not, as might be conceived, 
"discipline under which the understanding is 
placed," but "discipline, training to reason, to 
a reasonable, intelligent condition " (as Hirzia 
rightly conceives it); compare the "discipline 
of wisdom " (noDH 1D=I0), xv. 33, and for "un- 
derstanding " (73tyn), insight, discernment, a 
rational condition, see particularly xxi. 16. 
Umbreit and Ewald regard '73t^n as equivalent 

to thoughtfulness ("a discipline to thoughtful- 
ness," Zuchtigung zur Besonneiiheit''') ; by this 
rendering, however, the full meaning of the con- 
ception is not exhausted. — Righteousness, 
justice and integrity. The three Hebrew 
terms pli*, CDDC'D and D'Tl^'D are related to each 

I vv T : • ■ T •• 

other as "righteousness, justice, and integrity, or 
uprightness" [Gerechtigkeit, Recht unci Geradheit). 
The first of the three expressions describes what 
is fitting according to the will and ordinance of 
God the supreme Judge (comp. Deut. xxxiii. 19); 
the second, what is usage and custom among men 
(Is. xlii. 1 ; 1 Sam. xxvii. 11): the third, what is 
right and reasonable, and in accordance with 
a walking in the way of truth, and so denotes 
a straight-forward, honorable and upright de- 

Ver. 4. To impart to the simple pru- 
dence. — The telic infinitive (^^ /) is co-ordi- 
nate with the two that precede in vers. 2 and 
3, and has the same subject. Therefore the 
same construction is to be employed here also (to 
become acquainted with — to attain — to impart) ; 
and we are not, by the introduction of a final 
clause, to make the contents of this 4th versa 
subordinate to the preceding, as the LXX do 
(iva 6C K. T. 1.), and likewise the Vulg. [ut detur, 
etc.), and Luther (" that the simple may become 
shrewd, and young men reasonable and conside- 
rate "). The "simple" (D'XnD), properly, the 
"open," those who are readily accessible to all 
external impressions, and therefore inexperi- 
enced and simple, vrj-rmc, (iKaKoi (as the LXX ap- 
propriately render the word in this passage ; comp. 
Rom. xvi. 18). With respect to the relation of 

this idea to that of the "fool" (^3J. tl>2) com- 

^ TT ■ : ' 

pare what will be said below on i. 32, and also 
Introd., I 3, note 2. — Prudence (nrD"l>', derived 
from D^J^) signifies properly nakedness, smooth- 
ness (comp. theadj. D^"1J,' ["subtle," E.V.], naked, 
i. e., slippery, crafty; used of the serpent. Gen. iii. 
1); therefore metaphorically "the capacity for 
escaping from the wiles of others" (U.mbreit), 
"the prudence which guards itself against in- 
jury" (xxii. 3; 1 Saiii. xxiii. 22). — To the 
young man know^ledge and discretion. — 
Discretion, thoughtfulness (rrsirD, LXX, iin>oia), 
denotes here in connection with "knowledge" 
(r\J^n) the characteristic of thoughtful, well con- 
sidered action, resting upon a thorough know- 

CHAP. I. 1-33. 


ledge of things, — therefore, circumspection, cau- 

Ver. 5. Not the simple and immature only, 
but also the wise and intelligent, are to derive 
instruction from Solomon's proverbs. This idea 
is not, as might be supposed, thrust in the form 
of a parenthesis into the series of final clauses 
beginning \j'ith ver. 2, and reaching its conclu- 
sion in ver. 6, so that the verb {}?0d\) is to be 
conceived of as rendering the clause conditional, 
and is to be ti-anshxted " if he hears " (Umbreit. 
Elster) ; it begins a new independent proposi- 
tion, whose imperfect tenses are to be regarded 
as voluntative, and upon which the new intinitive 

clause with / in ver. 6 is dependent (Ewalb, 
Bertiieau, and commentators generally). — Let 
the w^ise man hearken and add tp his 
learning. — As to the expression "add to his 

learning" (np/ ^OV) comp. ix. 9; xvi. 12. The 
peculiar term rendered "learning" (see critical 
notes above) is a designation of knowledge, doc- 
trine, instructive teaching in general; comp. vers. 
22 and 29. The word rendered "control," or 
mastery, is an abstract derivative, strengthened 
by the ending m (Ewald, Gramm., | 179 a., 
note 3), and expresses here in an appropriate 
and telling figure the idea of " skill and facility 
in the management of life." Comp. xi. 14 ; xii. 5 ; 
Job xxxvii. 12, etc. Its relation to "learning" 

(np/) is quite like that of "discipline" to "wis- 
dom " in ver. 2 ; it supplies the practical corre- 
lative to the other idea which is predominantly 

Ver. 6. To understand proverb and 
enigma, etc. — ["The climax of the definition of 

wisdom" — Stanley]. The infinitive (r^riy) 
supplies the announcement of the end required 
by ver. 5 : to this end is the wise man to gain 
in knowledge and self-command or self-disci- 
pline, that he may understand the proverbs and 
profound sayings of the wise, i. e., may know 
how to deal appropriately with them. It is not 
the mere understanding of the wisdom of proverbs 
by itself that is here indicated as the end of the 
vpise man's "increase in knowledge and mas- 
tery," but practice and espertness in using this 
wisdom ; it is the callers sententias sapientum 
which imparts a competence to communicate 
further instruction to the youth who need disci- 
pline. If the telic infinitive (p^n'?) be taken in 
this frequent sense, for which may be compared 
among other passages Prov. viii. 9 ; xvii. 10, 24 ; 
Dan. i. 27, we do not need with Bertheau to 
give the expression a participial force (by virtue 
of the fact that he understands, — understanding 
proverbs, etc.), — nor to maintain with Hitzig 
and others that ver. 6 is not grammatically con- 
nected with ver. 5, on the ground that it is not 
conceivable that the "learning to understand the 
words of wise men " should be made an object of 
the endeavor of such as are wise already. It is 
an intensified acquaintance with wisdom that is 
here called for, a knowledge in the sense of the 
passage, "to him that hath shall be given, and 
lie shall have abundance," Matth. xiii. 12; comp. 

John i. IG ; Rom. i. 17 ; 2 Cor. iii. 18. For the 
verbal explanation of "enigma" and "dark say- 
ing" (ni"''70 and HTn) see Introd., g 11, note 2. 
Certain as it is that both expressions here are 
only designed to embody in a concrete form the 
idea of obscure discourse that requires interpre- 
tation (the parallelism with "proverbs" and 

"words of wise men" l/tl^D and D'ODH ''131) 

T T • T-: ■• : • 

shows this beyond dispute), we have no warrant 
for finding in this verse a special allusion to the 
obscure, enigmatical contents of chap, xxx., and 
so for insisting upon its very late origin, as Hit- 
zig does (see in reply Ewald). Nevertheless, it 
follows from the comprehensiveness of the plural 
expression "words of wise men" (comp. xxii. 17 
and Eccles. ix. 17; xii. 11) that no one could 
have prefixed to his work an introduction like 
that before us, who was not conscious that he 
had collected with proverbs of Solomon many 
others that were not directly from him (comp. 
§12 of the Introd.). 

2. Ver 7 is not to be regarded as a part of the 
superscription, as Ewald, Bertheau, Elster, 
Keil, etc., treat it, but is the general proposition 
introducing the series of didactic discourses that 
follows; — a motto, as it were, for the first or in- 
troductory main division of the book, as Uai- 
BREiT happily expresses it ; comp. Hitzig in loc. 
The proverb has also passed into the Arabic, and 
here also frequently stands at the commencement 
of collections of proverbs, whether because it is 
ascribed to jMohammed, as is sometimes done in 
such cases, or because it is cited as coming from 
Solomon. Compare Von Diez, Denkwurdiykcilen, 
II., 459; Meid.\ni, ed. Frcytag, III., 29, 610; 
Erpenius, Sent, quned. Arab., p. 45. In the Old 
Testament [and Apocrypha], moreover, the same 
maxim occurs several times, especially in Prov. 
ix. 10 ; Ecclesiast. i. 16, 25 ; Ps. cxi. 10. From 
the passage last cited the LXX repeat in our 
verse the words appended to the first clause : 
'Apx^ corpiag (pO/SoQ Kvpiov, avvsaig de aya-dij -aciv 
rnlg TTOLovaiv avTTjv ["and a good understanding 
have all they that do it"]. — Beginning. — 

(iTt^XT is here equivalent to Tlvnil found in the 

parallel passage, ix. 10 ; it is therefore correctly 
rendered in Ecclesiast. and the LXX by apxv in 
the sense of "beginning"): compare chap. iv. 
7, " the beginning of wisdom ;" not, as the words 
themselves would allow, "that which is highest 
in wisdom," "the noblest or best wisdom." 
[The latter is given as a marginal reading in the 
E. v., and is retained and defended by Holden; 
soalsoby Trapp and others. — A.]. — Fools. — The 
word designates properly the hardened, the 
stupid, — those fools who know nothing of God 
(Jer. iv. 22), and therefore refuse and contemptu- 
ously repel His salutary discipline (comp. above, 
note to ver. 2). 

3. Vers. 8-19. These verses show in an exam- 
ple so shaped as to convey an earnest warn- 
ing, how we are to guard ourselves against the 
opposite of the fear of God, against depravity, 
which is, at the same time, the extremest folly. 
They contain, therefore, a warning against turn- 
ing aside to the way of vice, given as the first il- 
lustration of the truth expressed in ver. 7. — 
Vers. 8, 9. — My son. — The salutation of the 


teacher of wisdom, who is here represented as 
"father" in order to illustrate to his pupil the 
inner reality and nature of their mutual relation 
(comp. 1 Cor. iv. 15; Philem. 10). The "mother" 
who is mentioned in connection with this " fa- 
tlier " is only a natural expansion of the idea of 
the figure, suggested by the law of poetic paral- 
lelism, — and not a designation of wisdom perso- 
nified, who does not appear before ver. 20. 
[Wordsworth and many of the older English 
expositors regard this as a specific address by 
Solomon to Rehoboam; this interpretation, how- 
ever, lacks the support of Oriental usage, and too 
much restricts the scope of the Book of Proverbs. 
The large majority, however, of English and 
American commentators (e. g., Trapp, Holden, 
Bridges, Wordsworth, Muenscher) find here 
a more specific commendation of filial docility 
and obedience. Stuart more nearly agrees with 
our author in making the "father" and "mo- 
ther" figurative rather than literal terras — A.]. 
— Law (min), here doctrina, instructive pre- 
cepts in general ; as in several other instances in 
our book it is used of the instruction given by 
parents to their children, e. g., iii. 1 ; iv. l2 ; vii. 
2 ; xxviii. 7, 9. — For they are a gracefQl 
crown to thy head. — "Wreath of grace" 

on rrw) graceful crown, as in iv. 9. The com- 
parison of the teachings of wisdom with pearls 
which one hangs as a necklace about the neck, a 
figure which is a great favorite every where in 
the East, recurs again in iii. 3; vi. 21; Eccle- 
siast. vi. 30. 

Ver. 10. Transition to an intelligible admo- 
nitory example ; hence the repetition of the fa- 
miliar salutation "My son," which occurs once 
more in ver. 15, at the beginning of the apodo- 
sis. Sinners (D'XtDri). — Sinners by profession, 
habitual sinners, as in Ps. i. 1 ; here those in 
particular whose business is murder (comp. Gen. 
iv. 7, 8j, robbers who are murderers. — Ver. 11. 
"We will lie in w^ait for blood, etc. — Tiie two 
verbs (3TN and |31f) both signify to lie in wait 
for, to lay snares artfully (as the huntsman for 
the game, with noose and net). The adverb (Diil) 
is probably more correctly construed with the 
verb (lie in wait without cause, i. e., without 
having any reason for revenge and enmity), than 
witli the aiijective, — although this latter combi- 
nation is also grammatically admissible. But 
with the conception "him that is innocent in 
vain," i. e., the man to whom his innocence shall 
be of no avail against us, the parallel passages 
(Ps. XXXV. 19; Ixix. 4; Lam. iii. 52) correspond 
less perfectly than with that to which we have 
given tlie preference; comp. Hitzig inloc. — Ver. 
12. — Will swallovy them, like the pit, 
living. — The "living" (^D"'n) can rel'er only to 

the suffix pronoun (in □J^733), The connection 
writh "like the pit" ( 71XC/3), to which Umbreit 
and IIitzio give the preference, gives the pecu- 
liarly hard sense "as the pit (swallows) that 
whicli lives." Comp. rather Ps. Iv. 15: "they 
must go down living into the pit ;" and also Ps. 
cxxiv. 3 ; Prov. xxx. 16, an<l the account of the 
destruction of Korah's company. Numb. xvi. 30, 

83. — The upright (D'p'pri) is accusative, object 

of the verb {Vi'^), ''^u'^l therefore stands evidently 
as synonymous with C'PJ (innocent, comp. Ps. 
xix. 13) ; it is accordingly to be interpreted as 
referring to moral integrity or uprightness, and 
not of bodily soundness (as Ewald, Bertheau, 
and others claim). — Those that descend into 
the grave (113 "'1'IV) — that sink into the sepul- 
chre, i. e., the dead; comp. Ps. xxviii. 1 ; Ixxxviii. 
4 ; cxliii. 7. 

Vers. 13, 14. Reasons for the treacherous 
proposal of the murderers. — Thou shalt cast 
in thy lot among us — /. e., thou shalt, as 
one having equal riglit with us, cast lots for the 
spoil, comp. Ps. xxii. 18; Nehem. x. 35. — Vers. 15 
sq. The warning, — given as an apodosis to 
the condition supposed in ver. 11. As to the 
figurative expressions in ver. 15, comp. Ps. i. 1 ; 
Jer. xiv. 10: Prov. iv. 2G ; for ver. 16 compare 
Is. lix. 7, and the passage suggested by it, Rom. 
iii. 15. Without adequate grounds, Hitzig con- 
jectures that ver. 16 is spurious, because, he 
says, it agrees almost literally with Isaiah (as 
c:ted), and, on the other hand, is wanting in 
the Cod. Vatic, of the LXX. Literal quotations 
from earlier Biblical writers are in Isaiah above 
all others nothing uncommon ; and with quite as 
little reason will the omission of a verse from 
the greatly corrupted LXX text of our book 
furnish ground, without other evidence, for sus- 
pecting its genuineness (see Introd., ^ 13). — Ver. 
17. "The winged" (properly "lords of the 

wing;" ^J3 'i^3, as in Eccles. x. 20) is hardly 
a figurative designation of those plotted against 
by the robbers, and threatened by ti-eacherous 
schemes, so that the meaning would be "in vain 
do they lie in wait for their victims ; these be- 
come aware of their danger, and so their prize 
escapes the assailants " (so Doderlein, Zieg- 
LER, Bertheau, Elster, etc.). For 1) the causal 
conj, " for " ('3) authorizes us to look for a direct 
reason for the warning contained in ver. 15; 2) 
the allusion to the possible failure of the plans 
of the wicked men would not be a moral motive, 
but a mere prudential consideration, such as 
would harmonize very poorly with the general 
drift of the passage before us ; and 3) the ex- 
pression " before the eyes " ('r^'3) stands evi- 
dently in significant contrast with "in vain" 
(Din); it is designed to set the fact that the net 
is clearly in sight over against the fact that the 
birds nevertheless fly into it, — and so to exhibit 
their course as wholly irrational. — Therefore we 
should interpret with U.mbreit, Ewald, Hitzig, 
etc.; like thoughtless birds that with open eyes fly 
into the net, so sinners while plotting destruction 
for others plunge themselves in ruin. Only with 
this explanation, with which we may compare 
Job xviii. 8, will the import of ver. 18 agree: 
there "and these, these also" (Dni) puts the 
sinners in an emphatic way side by side (not in 
contrast) with the birds, and the suffixes desig- 
nate the own blood, the own souls of the sinners. 
Between the two verses there is therefore the 
relation of an imperfectly developed comparison 
suggested by the "also " (1) as in xxv. 25; xxvii. 

CHAP. I. 1-33. 


21 ; comp. Introd., § 14. [The view of English ex- 
positors is divided, like that of the German 
scholars cited by our author. Bishop Hall, 
Trapp, Henry and Noyes, e. g. agree with him 
in finding here a comparison, while D'Oyly and 
Mant, Holden, Bridges, Wordsworth, Stuart, 
MuENSCHER find a contrast. The argument 
based on the particles ''2 and 1 it must be ad- 
mitted has very little force ; for ''2 (see Ewald, 
\ 321, b.) may be used positively or negatively 
in intense asseveration, "yea, surely," or "nay;" 
while 1, it is well known, has a very generous 
variety of uses, among which is the antithetic, 
in which case it may be rendered " but" or " and 
yet" (Ewald, \ 880, a.). — A.].— They lie in 
"wrait for their o'wn lives. The LXX, which 
at the end of this verse adds the peculiar but 
hardly genuine clause, r) ds KaraaTpofi/ ai'dpuv 
■Kapavofiuv Kauri ("and the destruction of trans- 
gressors is evil, or great") seems, instead of "they 

lie in wait for their own lives" (DniC/SJ7 'JDi") 

T : ~ ; : : " 

to have read "they heap up evil" vl >'"} =113}^'); 
for it renders the second number by ^•■Briaavpllov- 
civ tavTo'ig kuko, " (they treasure up evils for 
themselves). Comp. Heidenheim in the article 
cited in the Introd., ^ 13, note 1. — Ver. 19. 
Ketrospect and conclusion; comp. Job vlii. 13; 
xviii. 21. — Spoil (.i'i'3) gain unlawfully acquired, 

as in xxviii. 16. The combination ^'V3 ;t'"ii is 
found also in xv. 27. The subject of the verb 
" takes " (npj) is;r^3 ; " the life of its owner it, 
unjust gain, takes away." Luther, following 
the LXX, Vulgate, and most of the ancient ex- 
positors, renders " that one («. e., of the rapa- 
cious) takes life from another." But the idea 

*' ownership, owner " (Dy^'S) has no reference 

to the relation between partners in violence and 
those like themselves, but to that existing be- 
tween an object possessed and its possessor. 

4. Vers. 20-33. After this warning against 
the desperate counsels of the wicked there fol- 
lows in this second admonitory discourse a warn- 
ing against the irrational and perverse conduct 
of fools. In the former case it was contempt of 
the fear of God, in the latter it is contempt of 
wisdom against which the warning is directed. 
Both passages, therefore, refer back distinctly 
to the motto that introduces them in ver. 7. The 
admonition against folly, Avhich is now to be con- 
eidered, is put appropriately into the mouth of 
wisdom personified, — as is also, later in the 
book, the discourse on the nature and the origin 
of wisdom (chap. viii. 1 sq). — On the street and 
in public places wisdom makes herself heard ; 
not in secret, for she need not be ashamed of her 
teaching, and because she is a true friend of the 
people seeking the welfare of all, and therefore 
follows the young and simple, the foolish and un- 
godly, everywhere where they resort; comp. 
Christ's command to His disciples, Matt. x. 27; 
Luke xiv. 21. As in these passages of the New 
Testament, so in that before us, human teachers 
(the wise men, or the prophets, according to Ec- 
clesiast. xxiv. 38; Wisdom vii. 27) are to be 
regarded as the intermediate instrumentality in 

the public preaching of wisdom. — Ver. 21. In 
the places of greatest tumult she calleth, 

etc. "The tumultuous" (nvoh), comp. Isaiah 
xxii. 2; 1 Kings i. 41, can signify here nothing 
but the public streets full of tumult, the thorough- 
fares. The "beginning" (E/Xh) of these high- 
ways or thoroughfares is, as it were, their 
corner; the whole expression points to boister- 
ous public places. The LXX seem to have 
read r\10in " walls," since it translates ctt' uKpuv 
reiXEuv [on high walls]. Before the second 
clause the same version has the addition " e-l Jc 
TcvXaiQ dwaoTuv napeSptvei" [and .at the gates of 
the mighty she sits], an expansion of the figure 
in which there is no special pertinence. In the 
city ("^'.^'3) is probably to be regarded as a 
closer limitation of "at the entrances of the 
gates " (D'^J-'C/ 'nriDS), i. e., on the inner, the 

city side of the entrances at the gates: it is not 
then to be regarded as an antithesis, as Umbreit, 
Bertheau, Hitzig, etc., claim, [nor is it to be 
detached and connected with the next clause, as 
Stuart claims]. — Ver. 22. How long, ye sim- 
ple, will ye love simplicity? The discourse 
of Wisdom begins in the same way as I*s. iv. 2. In 
regard to the distinction between " simple" ('^13) 

and " scorner" {]'/_), comp. Introd. § 3, note 2 ; and 
above, the remarks on ver. 4. — The perfect tense 
in the second clause (HOn), which standing be- 
tween the imperfects of the 1st and 3d clauses ia 
somewhat unusual, is to be conceived of as in- 
choative (like the verb "despise" ^O in ver. 7), 
and therefore propei-ly signifies "become fond 
of," and not "be fond of." [See, however, the 
critical note on this verse]. — Ver. 28. Turn ye 
at my reproof, — i. e., from your evil and per- 
verse way. I will pour out upon you my 
spirit. The spirit of wisdom is to flow forth 
copiously, like a never-failing spring ; comp. 
xviii. 4; and with reference to the verb "pour 
out" (^^"371) which "unites in itself the figures 
of abundant fullness and refreshing invigoration" 
(U.mbreit, Elster) comp. xv. 2; Ps. Ixxviii. 2; 
cxix. 171. — Ver. 24, in connection with 2-5, ia 
an antecedent clause introduced by "because" 
(.\]yj, to which vers. 26, 27 correspond as conclu- 
sion. The perfects and imperfects with 1 consec. 
in the protasis describe a past only in relation 
to the verbs of the apodosis, and may therefore 
well be rendered by the present, as Luther has 
done: "Because I call and ye refuse," etc. To 
stretch forth the hand, in order to beckon to 
one, is a sign of calling for attention, — as in 
Isa. Ixv. 2. The verb in ver. 25, f. c. (J-'^^S) is 
doubtless not " undervalue, despise " as Hixzio 
explains, following the analogy of the Arabic), 
but "cast off, reject," as in iv. 15, (Umbreit, 
Ewald, Elster and commentators generally; 
comp. Luther's " let go, /(//irm lasse?i"). [Aa 
between the two the English Aversion is equivo- 
cal, " set at naught "]. — Ver. 26. "Laugh " and 

"mock" (pnti' and J^»S) here as in Ps. ii. 4. — 
Ver. 27 depicts the style and manner in which 
calamity comes upon fools, "and accumulates 



expression to work upon the fancy" (IIitzig). 
Instead of the K'thibh HINiyD according to the 

K'ri we should read (1X11^3, and this should be 

T : 
interpreted in the sense of "tempest" (corap. 
iii. 2-3; Zeph. i. 15). Thus most commentators 
correctly judge, while Hitzig defends for the 
expres^sion the signification "cataract," which 
however is appropriate in none of the passages 
adduced, and also fails in Job xxx. 14 (coinp, 
Delitzsch on this passage). — In regard to the 
alliteration Hpril mif distress and anguish, 

It : TT 

comp. Isa. xxx. G ; Zeph. i. 15. — Ver. 28. They 
shall seek me diligently. Tnt:', a denomi- 
native verb from ini^, "the morning dawn," 
signifies to seek something while it is yet early, 
in the obscurity of the morning twilight, and so 
illustrates eager, diligent seeking. [Of the re- 
cent commentators in English, Noyes only retains 
and emphasizes the rendering of the E. V., 
" they sball seek me early.''^ The rest do not 
find the idea of time in the vei-b, except by sug- 
gestion. — A.]. Comp., with respect to the gene- 
ral idea of the verse, Prov. viii. 17; Hos. v. 15. 
[Observe also the force of the transition from 
the 2d person of the preceding verse, to the 3d 
person in this and the verses following. — A.]. — 
Ver. 29. The "because " ("Ii nnr\) is not depen- 
dent on ver. 28, but introduces the four-fold 
antecedent clause (vers. 29, 30), which ver. 31 
follows as its conclusion. With ver. 31 comp. 
Is. iii. 10; Ps. Ixxxviii. 3; cxxiii. 4, where tlic 
figure of satiety with a thing expresses likewise 
the idea of experiencing the evil consequences of 
a mode of action. m^^j^lD, evil devices, as also 
Ps. V. 10. — Vers. 32, 33. Confirmatory and con- 
cluding propositions, connejted by "for" C3)-— 
rm-l^p, turning away from. wisdom and its salu- 
tary discipline, therefore resistance, rebellious- 
ness. Comp. Jer. viii. 5, Hos. xi. 5, where it sig- 
nifies turning away or departure from God. " Se- 
curity" (nnt^) idle, easy rest, the carnal secu- 
rity of the obdurate; camp. Jerem. xxii. 21. 
A beautiful contrast to this false ease is pre- 
sented in the true peace of the wise and devout, 
as ver. 33 describes it. 


As long ago as the time of Melanchthon it 
was recognized as a significant fact, that wisdom 
claims as her hearers and pupils not only the 
simple, the young and the untaught, but those 
also who are already advanced in the knowledge 
of truth, the wise and experienced. He remarks 
on ver. 5: "To his proposition he adds an ad- 
monition what the hearer ought to be. A wise 
hearer will profit, as saith the Lord : To him that 
hath shall be given. And again. He shall give 
the Holy Spirit to those that seek, not to those 
that despise, not to those that oppose with bar- 
barous and savage fierceness. These despisers 
of God, the Epicureans and the like, he here says 
do not profit, but others, in whom are the be- 
ginnings of the fear of God, and who seek to be 
controlled by God, as it is said : Ask and ye shall 

receive."* Susceptibility therefore both must ma- 
nifest, — those who are beginners under the in- 
struction of wisdom, and those who are more ad- 
vanced; otherwise there is no progress for them. 
It is indeed divine wisdom in regard to the ac- 
quisition of which these assertions are made ; and 
in the possession of this wisdom, and in the com- 
munication of it as a teacher, no man herebelo^ 
ever attains perfection, so as to need no further 
teaching. It is precisely as it is within the de- 
partment of the New Testament with the duty of 
faith, and of growth in believing knowledge, 
which duty in no stage of the Christian life in 
this world ever loses its validity and its binding 
power. Comp. Luke xvii. 5; Eph. iv. 15, 16; 
Col. i. 11; ii. 19; 2Thess. i. 3 ; 2 Pet. iii. 18. 

2. The thoroughly religious character o! 
■wisdom as our book designs to inculcate it, ap- 
pears not only in the jewel which sparkles fore- 
most in its necklace of proverbs (ver. 7: "The fear 
of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom, cte."), but 
also in the fact that in the introductory admoni- 
tion, in ver. 10, it is Sinners (so designated with- 
out preamble or qualificationj, the D^XiDn (Lu- 
ther, "tlie base knaves," die bosen Buben), whose 
seductive conduct is put in contrast with the nor- 
mal deportment of the disciple of wisdom. Ob- 
serve further that in the very superscription, vers. 
2 and 3, the ideas of discipline, righteousness, 
justice and upi'ightness are appended to that of 
wisdom as synonymous with it. The wise man 
is therefore eo ipso, also the just, the pious, the 
upright, the man who walks the way of truth. 
Inasmuch, however, as the ideas of righteousness, 
justice and uprightness (P."]^. 03'.i'^, D'T^'O), 
here, as every where else m the Old Testament, 
express the idea of correspondence with the re- 
vealed moral law, the law, the law of Moses, 
therefore the wise man is the man who acts and 
walks in accordance with law, the true observer 
of the law, who " walks in all the command- 
ments and ordinances of the Lord blameless " 
(Luke i. 6; comp. Deut. v. 33; xi. 22; Ps. cxix. 1). 
True wisdom, knowledge, and spiritual culture, 
are to be found within the sphere of Old Testa- 
ment revelation only where the law of the Lord 
is truly observed. Mere morality in the sense 
of the modern humanitarian free-thinking and 
polite culture could not at all show itself there ; 
moral rectitude must also always be at the same 
time legal rectitude. Nay it stands enacted also 
under the New Testament that " whosoever shall 
break one of these least commandments, and shall 
teach men so, shall be called the least in the king- 
dom of heaven " (Matth. v. 19) ; that " the weigh- 
tier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and 
faith," together with its less significant demands, 
must be fulfilled (Matth. xxiii. 23) ; that he only 
can be called a possessor of " the wisdom that 
is from above," and "a perfect man," who "of- 
fends not in word" (James iii. 2, 17). The fear 
of the Lord, which according to ver. 7 is the be- 
ginning of wisdom, while again in ver. 29 it is 

* Prnposilinm addit adnnmitiortpm, quaUm rrpnrtent audito- 
rem esse.. Sapiens auditor proficict, sicut Dinnnius itx/nit: 
Habenti dahitur. Item: Dahit spiritum sanctum peletitiOus, 
nnn conicmnentibus, non repurinanlibus barbaricu ct ci/c/npica 
ferocia. Hos cnntemptnrcs Vri, ut Epicweos ct similes, ait 
hie non, sed alios, in fii/i!>i(s sunt initia timoris Dti, 
et quipttunt se regi a Deo, sicut dicitur Petite ct accipictis. 

CHAP. I. 1-33. 


proseated as the synonyme of the same idea 
(comp. ii. 5; ix. 10, etc.) consists, once for all, 
in a complete devotion to GotI, an unconditional 
subjection of cue's own individuality to the be- 
neficent will of God as revealed in the law (comp. 
Deut. vi. 2, 13; x. 20; xiii. 4; Ps. cxix. 63, eCc). 
How then can'he bo regarded as fearing God, wlio 
should keep only a part of the divine commands, 
or who should undertake to fullil them only ac- 
cording to their moral principle, and did not seek 
also to make the embodying letter of their for- 
mal requirements the standard of his life — in the 
Old Testament with literal strictness, in the New 
Testament in spirit and. in truth ? 

From these observations it will appear what 
right Bruch has to maintain (in the work before 
cited, p. 128), that in the collection of the Pro- 
verbs of Solomon, and in general in the gnomic 
writers of Israel, the idea of wisdom is substituted 
for that of righteousness which is common in 
Other parts of the Old Testament. Righteousness 
and wisdom according to this view would be es- 
sentially exclusive the one of the other; since 
the former conception "had usually attached 
itself to a ceremonial righteousness through 
works," and had appeared "to make too little 
reference to the theoretical conditions of all 
higher moral culture." In the Introduction, 
(§ 15, note) we have already commented on (he 
one-sideduess and tlie misconception involved in 
this view, according to which the doctrine of 
wisdom (the Ilhokmah-system) was Antinomian 
and rationalistic in the sense of the purely neg- 
gativo Protestantism of modern times. Further 
arguments in its refutation we shall have occa- 
sion to adduce in the exposition of the several 
passages tnero cited (see particularly xiv. U ; 
xxviii. 4 sq. ; xxix. 18, 24, etc.) See also the 
doctrinal observations on iii. 9. 

3. That the reckless transgressor de- 
stroys himself by his ungodly course, that 
he runs with open eyes iuto tlie net of destruc- 
tion spread out before him, and, as it were, lies 
in wait for his own life to strangle it, — this truth 
clearly presented in vers. 17, 18 is a character- 
istic and favorite tenet in the teaching of wis- 
dom in the Old Testament. Comp. particularly 
chap. viii. 36, where wisdom exclaims " Whoso 
sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul; all 
they that hate me love death." So also xv. 32; 
xxvi. 27; Eccles. x. 8; Ps. vii. I-'); Ecclesiast. 
xxvii, 29 (the figure of the pit which the wicked 
digs, to fall into it at last himself). But in the 
Prophets also essentially the same thought re- 
curs ; thus when Jehovah (in Ezek. xviii. 31 ; 
xxxiii. 11) exclaims " Why will ye die, ye of the 
house of Israel?" Of passages from the New 
Testament we may cite here Rom. ii. 5 ; 1 Tim. 
vi. 9, 10; Gal. vi. 8; James v. 3-5, etc. Both 
propositions are alike true, that true wisdom, 
beiiig one with the fear of God and righteous- 
ness, is "a tree of life to all that lay hold upon 
her" (Prov. iii. 18; xi. 30; xv. 4; comp. iv. 13, 
22; xix. 23, etc.), — and that on the other hand a 
walking in folly and in forgetf'ulness of God is a 
slow self-murder, a destruction of one's own life 
and happiness. See the two concluding propo- 
sitions of our chapter (vers. 32, 33) and the ad- 
mirable poetic development of this contrast in 
the Ps. i. 4. The explanation given above (on 

ver. 20) of the fact that wisdom is exhibited as 
preaching upon the streets, i. e., in reference to 
her benevolent and philanthropic ch.aracter, 
which impels her to follow sinners, and to make 
the great masses of the needy among the people 
the object of her instructive and converting ac- 
tivity, seems to us to correspond better with the 
spirit of the doctrine of wisdom in the Old Tes- 
tament, than either that of Umbreit, according 
to which "it is only in busy life that the rich 
stream of experience springs forth, from which 
wisdom is drawn," or that of Ew.\ld, which re- 
cognizes, in the free public appearance of wis- 
dom an effective contrast to the light-shunning 
deeds, and the secret consultations of the sinners 
who have just been described, (which explana- 
tion, besides, would apply only to this passage, 
and not to its parallels in viii. 2, 3, and ix. 3). 
The tendency of the Old Testament Hhukmah 
was essentially popular, looking to the increased 
prosperity of the nation, to the promotion of phi- 
lanthropic ends in the noblest sense of the word. 
Love, true philanthropy is everywhere the key- 
note to its doctrines and admonitions. "For- 
giving, patient love (x. 12), love that docs good 
even to enemies (xxv. 11 sq.), which does not 
rejoice over an enemy's calamity (xxiv. 17 sq.), 
which does not recompense like with like (xxiv. 
28 sq.), but commits all to God (xx. 22), love in 
its miinifold varieties, as conjugal love, parental 
love, the love of a friend, is here recommended 
with the clearness of the New Testament and the 
most expressive cordiality." (Delitzscu, as 
above cited, p. 716). Why then should not that 
yearning and saving love for sinners which ven- 
tures into the whirl and tumult of great crowds 
to bear testimony to divine truth, and to reclaim 
lost souls, — why should not this also constitute a 
chief characteristic in this spiritual state mo- 
delled so much like the standard of the New Tes- 
tament? It appears — in how manj' passages! — 
as the type of, nay, as one with the spirit of Ilim 
who also " spake freely and openly before the 
world, in the synagogue and in the temple 
whither the Jews always resorted" (John xviii. 
20) ; who, when He said something in secret to 
His disciples, did it only to the end that they 
should afterward " preach it upon the house- 
tops " (Matth. X. 27); who allowed himself to be 
taunted as "a man gluttonous, and a wine-bib- 
ber, a friend of publicans and sinners," because 
He had come to seek and to save the lost (Matth. 
xi. 19; Luke xix. 10). It is at least significant 
that the Lord, just in that passage in which he is 
treating of the publicity of His working, and of 
the impression which His condescending inter- 
course with publicans, sinners and the mass of 
the people had made upon the Jews, designates 
Himself distinctly (together with His herald and 
forerunner, John the Baptist) as the personal 
Wisdom: Matth. xi. 19; Luke vii. 35. It is as 
though He had by this expression intended to 
call up in fresh remembrance Solomon's repre- 
sentation of wisdom preaching in the streets, and 
to refer to His own identity with the spirit of the 
Old Testament revelation that spoke through 
this wisdom (the " spirit of Christ," 1 Pet. i. 11). 
rom,p,. ^l.\v.x. Geiek and Stakke on this passage. 
These authors appropriately remind us of the 
universality of the Now Testament's proclamation 



of salvation, and its call penetrating everywhere 
(Rom. X. 18; Col. i. 6, 28); they are in error, 
however, in suspecting in the suppf)sed plural 
niDJn (ver. 18) an intimation of the number- 
less ways in which wisdom ie proclaimed in the 
world. The true conception of this seeming plu- 
ral may be found above in the Esegetical and Cri- 
tical Notes on this passage. 


Homily upon the entire first chapter. Solo- 
mon's discourse upon wisdom as the higliest 
good. 1) Its design, for young and old, learned 
and unlearned (vers. 1-6). 2) Its substance: 
commendation of the fear of God as the beginning 
and essence of all wisdom (ver. 7). 3) Its aim: 

a) warning against betrayal into profligacy as 
being the opposite of the fear of God (vers. 8-19) ; 

b) warning against the foolish conduct of the 
world as being the opposite of wisdom (vers. 20- 
33). — The wisdom of ihe Old Testament as a type 
of true Christian feeling and action: a) with re- 
spect to God as the supre:ne author and chief 
end of all moral effort (vers. 1-0); b) with re- 
spect to the world, as the seducing power, that 
draws away from communion with God (vers. 
10-19) ; c) with respect to the way and manner 
in which Divine wisdom itself reveals itself as 
an earnest and yet loving preacher of righteous- 
ness (vers. 20-33). — Fear of God the one thing 
that is needful in all conditions of life: a) in 
youth as well as in age (vers. 4 sq.) ; b) in cir- 
cumstances of temptation (vers. 10 sq.); c) in 
the tumult and unrest of public life (vers. 20 sq.); 
d) in prosperity and adversity (vers. 27 sq.). 

Stocker: — Threefold attributes of the lover 
of wisdom: 1) in relation to God: the fear of 
God (1-7); 2) in relatiort to one's neighbors, — 
and specifically, a) to one's parents; obedience 
(8, 9) ; b) to others: the avoidance of evil com- 
pany (10-19); 3) in relation to one's self; dili- 
gent use of the opportunity to become acquainted 
vvvith wisdom. 

Siparate passages. — Vers. 1-6. See above, Doc- 
itrinal and Ethical principles. 1. — 

Starke: — The aim of the book, and that 
which should be learned from it, are pointed out 
in these verses in various almost equivalent 
words. The aim is, however, substantially two- 
fold: 1) that the evil in man be put away; 2) 
that good be learned and practised. — Woiil- 
FARTH : — the necessity of the culture of our mind 
and heart. Not the cultivated, but the undisci- 
plined, oppose the law! God "will have all men 
come to the knowledge of the truth," 1 Tim. ii. 
4. — [Ver. 4. Cartwright (quoted by Bridges): 
— "Over the gates of Plato's school it was writ- 
ten — M^fJe/r uyeuiteTpTiTO^ eIcIto) — Let no one who 
is not a geometrician enter. But very different 
is the inscription over these doors of Solomon — 
Let the ignorant, simple, foolish, young, en- 

Vers. 7-9. The blessedness of the fear of God, 
and the unblessed condition of forgetfulncss of 
God, — illustrated in the relation 1) of children 
to their parents; 2) of subjects to authorities; 
3) of Christians to Christ, the Lord of the Church. 
— The proposition "The fear of the Lord is the 
beginning of wisdom" must constitute the foun- 1 

dation of all the culture of the children of God, 
as the experience of the truth that " to love 
Christ is better than all knowledge" is to con- 
stitute its capstone and completion. — Vers. 8, 9, 
in general a peculiarly appropriate text for a 
sermon on education. — Luther (a marginal com- 
ment on ver. 7): "He who would truly learn 
must first be a man fearing God. He, however, 
who despises God asks for no wisdom, suiters no 
chastisement nor discipline." — Melanchthon (on 
ver. 7) : — The fear of God, which is one with true 
reverence for God, includes : 1) right knowledge 
of God ; 2) a genuine standing in fear before 
God; 3) faith, or the believing consecration to 
God, which distinguishes this fear from all ser- 
vile dread, and fleeing from Goil ; 4) the worship 
of God which aids to a true reconciliation with 
Him, a well ordered and assured control of the 
whole life. Therefore the fear of God is not 
merely beginning — it is quite the sum of all wis- 
dom, the right manager of all our counsels in 
prosperity and adversity. — Melanchthon (again) 
on vers. 8, 9: — He only reveals genuine fear of 
God who hearkens to the divinely instituted mi- 
nistry (^7ninisterium docndi) in the Church; and 
to this ministry parents also belong, so far forth 
as they are to "bring up their children in the 
nurture and admonition of the Lord." Eph. vi. 4. 
"Forsake not the law of thy mother," i. e., 
hearken always to the word of God as it has been 
communicated to the Church, and through the 
Church to all the children of God in the writings 
of the Prophets and Apostles. As a reward God 
here promises to those who practise this obedi- 
ence to His word a wreath upon the head and a 
beautiful necklace about the neck. The wreath 
betokens dominion, distinction, successful re- 
sults in all that one undertakes for himself and 
others, so that he becomes an instrument of 
blessing and a vessel of mercy for the people of 
God, according to the type of the devout kings, 
David, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, etc., and not a ves- 
sel of wrath after the likeness of a Saul, Absa- 
lom, etc. The necklace signifies the gift of dis- 
course, or of the command of wholesome doc- 
trine, through the power of the word. — Starke 
(on ver. 7) : — True wisdom is no such thing as 
the heathen sages taught, built upon reason and 
the human powers, inflated, earthly, and useless 
with respect to salvation; but it is "the wisdom 
that is from above, which is first pure, thea 
peaceable, gentle and easy to be entrented, full 
of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and 
without hypocrisy" (James iii. 17). The fear 
of God is, however, of two kinds, the servile and 
the childlike; and only the latter is here meant, 
1 .lohn iv. 18.— On Vers. 8, 9. From tlie fear of 
God as belonging to the first table of the law, 
Solomon passes on to the second table, and be- 
gins with obedience to parents : in this connection 
however it is assumed that parents also fulfil their 
duty, with regard to the correct instruction of 
their children; Eph. vi. 4. — Zeltner: — Many 
simple ones, who, however, fear God from the 
heart, have made such progress in the knowledge 
of the Holy Scriptures, that they have outstripped 
many of the learned. True wisdom is easy to be 
learned, if only there be true fear of God in the 
heart, Ecclesiast. i. 22 sq. — Lange: — [Salom. 
Licht und Recht). The fear of God is a desire 

CHAP. I. 1-33. 


flowing from the knowledge of the essence of 
all essences — of the will ami the gracious acts of 
God, — a sincere desire heartily to love Ilim as 
the highest good, in deepest humility to honor 
Him, in child-like confidence to hope the best 
from Ilim, and to serve Him with denial of self, 
willing'*/ ami steadfastly; and all this in con- 
formity to His revealed will. Comp. above, Me- 
LANOiiTiioN, and also S. Bohlius, Elhica Sacra: 
"To tear God is nothing but to follow God, or to 
imitate none but God."* 

[ Ver. 7. Arnot : — " What God is inspires awe ; 
wiiat God has done for His people commands af- 
fection. See here the centrifugal and centripe- 
tal forces of the moral world, holding the crea- 
ture reverently distant from the Creator, yet 
compassing the child about with everlasting 
love, to keep him near a Father in heaven." 
— Ver. 8. "This verse of the Proverbs flows from 
the same well spring that had already given 
forth the fifth commandment."] 

Vers. 10-19. Calwer Handbuch: The first rule 
for youth, " Follow father and mother," is im- 
mediately followed by the second, " Follow not 
base fellows." — Starke: — .\s a good education 
of children lays the first foundation for their 
true well being, so temptation lays the first 
founclatiou for their destruction. — The world, in 
order the better to lead others astray, is wont to 
adorn its vices with the finest colors. There be 
most of all on thy guard ; where the world is 
most friendly it is most dangerous. It is a poi- 
soned sweetmeat. — If thou art God's child, en- 
grafted in Christ the living vine by holy bap- 
tism, tliou hast received from Him new powers to 
hate evil and conquer all temptations. — On vers. 
16-19: — The ungodly have in their wickedness 
their calamity also, — and must (by its law) pre- 
pare this for one another. — Luther (marginal 
comment on ver. 17): "This is a proverb, and 
means " It fares with them as is said, ' In vain 
is the net,' etc.; i. e., their undertaking will fail, 
they will themselves perish." 

[Ver. 10. Arnot: — This verse, in brief com- 
pass and transparent terms, reveals the foe and 
the fight. With a kindness and wisdom altoge- 
ther piiternal, it warns the youth of the Danger 
that assails him, aud suggests the method of 

Ver. 20 sq. Geier (on ver. 20, 21) :— "All 
this decl ires the fervor and diligence of heavenly 
wisdom in alluring and drawing all to itself: just 
as a herald with full lungs aud clear voice en- 
deavors to summon all to him " — L.\nge : — Eter- 
nal wisdom sends forth a call of goodness and 
grace to the pious, and a call to holiness and 
riglitoousness addressed to the ungodly. that 
all would read and use aright this record written 
out tluis in capitals! — Calwer Handb.: — Wisdom's 
Avalk through the streets. The Lord and His 
Spirit follows us every where with monition and 
reminder. Here wisdom is portrayed especially 
as warning against the evil consequences of diso- 
bedience, and as pointing to the blessings of obe- 
dience. — Wohlfarth: The words of grief over 
the unrhankfiilness and blindness of men which 
Solomon here puts into the mouth of wisdom, — 

* •'Time.rii Diiiin nihil aliud ist quam sequi Dtum sive nt- 
mtnem imitari prseter Heum,^' 

we hear them, alas ! even to-day. Truth has 
become .... the common property of all men: 
in thousands upon thousands of churches and 
schools, from the mouth of innumerable teach- 
ers, in millions of written works, it speaks, in- 
structs, warns, pleads, adjures, so that we with 
wider meaning than Solomon can say, it is 
preached in highways and byways. If, on the 
one hand, we must greatly rejoice over this, how 
should we not in the same measure mourn tliat so 
many despise and scorn this call of wisdom ! Is 
it not fearful to observe how parents innumera- 
ble keep their children from schools — how many 
despise the preaching of the gospel, etc.? Let 
us therefore learn how slow man is to good, how 
inclined to evil, how careless he is just in con- 
nection with his richest privileges, etc. 

Vers. 22 sq. Starke: — Wisdom divides men 
here into three classes : 1) The simple or foolish: 
2) mockers ; 3) the abandoned. Through her call, 
" Turn you at my reproof," etc., she aims to trans- 
form these into prudent, thoughtful, devout men. 
— No one can receive the Holy Spirit of Christ and 
be enlightened with Divine wisdom, and not turn 
to the sacrifice of Christ (.John xiv. 15 sq. — xvi. 
7 sq.), renounce evil, and begin a new life (Ps. 
xxxiv. 15). — Lange : — If man does not follow the 
counsel of eternal wisdom, but walks according 
to the impulse of his own will, he comes at last 
to the judgment of obduracy. — W. Stein (Fast 
day sermon on i. 23-33) : — How does eternal, 
heavenly wisdom aim to awaken us to penitence? 
1 ) She uncovers our sins ; 2) she proclaims heavy 
judgments ; 3) she ofi'ers us shelter and points 
out the way of eternal salvation. — [Ver. 23. 
Fi.AVEL : — Tliis great conjunction of the word 
.nnd Spirit makes that blessed season of salvation 
the time of love and of life. — J. Howe : — When 
it is said, "Turn," etc., could any essay to turn 
be without some influence of the Spirit? But 
that complied with tends to pouring forth a 
copious eftusion not to be withstood. — Arnot: — 
The command is given not to make the promise 
unnecessary, but to send us to it for help. The 
promise is given not to supersede the command, 
but to encourage us in the eff"ort to obey. — When 
we turn at His reproof. He will pour out His 
Spirit; when He pours out His Spirit, we will 
turn at His reproof; blessed circle for saints to 
reason in. — Ver. 24-28. Arnot : — When mercy 
was sovereign, mercy used judgment for carrying 
out mercy's ends ; when mercy's reign is over 
and judgment's reign begins, then judgment will 
sovereignly take mercy past, and wield it to give 
weight to the vengeance stroke. — Ver. 32. 
South: — Prosperity ever dangerous to virtue: 
1) because every foolish or vicious person is 
either ignorant or regardless of the proper ends 
and rules for which God designs the prosperity 
of those to whom He sends it; 2) because pros- 
perity, as the nature of man now stands, has a 
peculiar force and fitness to abate men's virtues 
nnd heigliten their corruptions; 3) because it 
directly indisposes them to the proper means of 
amendment and recovery. — Baxter : — Because 
they are fools they turn God's mercies to their 
own destruction ; and because they prosper, they 
are confirmed in their folly.] 


3. ExLibitiou of the blessed consequences of obedience and of striving after wisdom. 

Chap. II. 1-22. 

1 My son, if thou receivest my words 
and keepest my commandments by thee, 

2 so that thou iuclinest thine ear to wisdom, 
and turnest thine heart to understanding; 

3 yea, if thou callest after knowledge, 
to understanding liftest up thy voice; 

4 if tliou seekest her as silver, 

and searches! for her as for hidden treasure; 

5 then shalt thou understand the fear of Jehovah, 
and find knowledge of God; — 

6 for Jehovah giveth wisdom, 

from his mouth (cometh) knowledge and understanding: 

7 and so he layeth up for the righteous sound wisdom, 
a shield (is he) for them that walk uprightly, 

8 to protect the paths of justice, 
and guard the way of his saints ; — 

9 then shalt thou understand righteousness and justice 
and uprightness, — every good way. 

10 If wisdom entereth into thine heart, 
and knowledge is pleasant to thy soul, 

11 then will discretion watch over thee, 
understanding will keep thee, 

12 to deliver thee from an evil way, 

from the man that uttereth frowardness, 

13 (from those) who forsake straight paths, 
to walk in ways of darkness; 

14 who rejoice to do evil, 

who delight in deceitful wickedness; 

15 whose paths are crooked, 

and they froward in their ways; — 

16 to deliver thee from the strange woman, 

from the stranger who maketh her words smooth, 

17 who hath forsaken the companion of her youth 
and forgotten the covenant of her God. 

18 For her house sinketh down to death 
and to the dead (lead) her paths; 

19 her visitors all return not again, 
and lay not hold upon paths of life. 

20 (This is) that thou mayest walk in a good way 
and keep the paths of the righteous! 

21 For the uprigiit sliall inhabit the land, 
and the just shall remain in it: 

22 but the wicked are cut off from the land, 
and the faithless are driven out of it. 


fVer. 1 sq. Df, Wette and Notes conceive of tho first two verses as not conditional, but as containing the expressioir 
of a direct and independent wisli: Ok I'lal Uio% ivml'lc-iC receive, etc. Tli) LX\, Vulg , Luther, c^c, make the first verse 
conditional, but fin<i tlie apodosis in ver. 2. Mukn-cH'.r finds in ver. 2 an independent condition, and not a mere sequence 
to the preceding; so not.l>E\, with n slightly different combination of the parts of ver. 2: If by inclining thine ear . . . 
thou will incline llune heart, etc. M., H., Stuart and others find the apodosis of the series of conditional clauses in ver. 5, 

CHAP. II. 1-22. 5S 

agreeing in this with the E. V. These diverse views do not essentially modify the general import of the passage. ZoCKLER 

it will be observed tiuds the apodosis in vers. 5 and U, vers. 6-S being pareutUelical. — A.J. 

Ver. 7. For the construction u'ith the stat. constr. compare Isa. xxxiii. 15. [Compare Green, g J ^^^ 9j h and 274, 2.] 
Ver. 8. The infinitive "I^J? is followed by the imperl'. "ibt!'' as above in ver. 2. [For explanations of the nature 

and use of this infinitive construction see Ewald, g 237, c. The literal rendering would be "for the guarding, protection, 
keeping." Whose keeping llie paths, tic? lioLuiiN uudeistaiid:* it of the righteous; " « ho walk uprightly by keeping the 
paths, etc." Most comuieutators uudi-rstaiid it ot viod, wlio is "a shield for tue protection, i.e., to protect, etc." Zockler 
in translation conlorms the lollowing Kat pret. to this intiu., while most others reverse the process — A.] 

Ver. 10. [The '3 with which the verse commences is differently understood, as conditional or temjioral, or as causal. 

Thus E. v., N., M., "zvhen wisdom, etc. ;" S., K., Van Ess, "for wisdom, etc. ;" De W., Z., " if wisdom, etc." Between the 
first and last there is no essential ditt'erence, aud this view of iho author is probably entitled to the prelerence. — A.j. 

The feminine flj'l, "knowledge" (which is used here, as in i. 7, as synonymous with nODH "wisdom") has 

T : T 
connected with it the masculine verbal form Q^'J', because this expression "it is lovely" Is treated as impersonal, or 

neuter, and Jl^T is connected with it as an accusative of object [ace. synecd., " there is pleasure to thy soul in respect to 

knowledge"]. Comp. the similar connection of fl^T with the masculine verbal form 7pJ in chap. xiv. 6; — also Gen. 

xlix. 15, 2 Sam. xi. 25. 

Ver. 11. [For the verbal form n3Ti*jr', with J unassimilated, " for the sake of emphasis or euphony," see 
BoiT., 1 1100, 3.— A.]. 

Ver. 12. yT is a substantive subordinate to the stat. constr. TI'IT as in viii. 13, or as in V'\ rilDDnn ver. 1-t, in 

J,n~'ti'JX, chap, x.xviii. 5, etc. 

Ver. 18. niTS^nniy. n'S which is everywhere else mascuUne is here exceptionally treated as feminine; for nnU' 

T ■• T T ■ - T T 

is certainly to be regarded as 3d sing. fern, from n-lty, and not with Umbreit and Elstee as a 3d sing, masc, for only H-Iiy 

and not nnty (to stoop, to bow) has the signification here required, viz., that of sinking (Lat. sidere). The LXX read 

T T 

nr^i!' from rmC) *nd therefore translate: I9cto yap napi. toJ flavaro) rbi' oIkov auT^9 [she set her house near to death] 

T - - T 

in which construction however nfli!? sidere, is incorrectly taken as transitive. [Both Bottcher and Fuerst recognize 

" T 

the possibility of deriving this form as a 3d slug, fera., either from H-liy or from nPt!^, which have a similar intrans. 

~ T 

meaning. To T\T\'^ neither Rodiqer (Qese.v. Thes.) nor Robinson's Gesenius, nor Fuerst gives any other than a transi- 

* T 

tlve meaning. — A.]. Perhaps Bottcher (De Infcris, ?g 201, 292; Neue Aehrenh, p. 1) has hit upon the true explanation, 
when he in like manner makes the wanton woman the subject, but treats njT3 not as object but as supplementary to 

T ** 
the verb, and therefore translates "for she sinks to death with her house, and to the^dead with her paths. [Ron. (Thesaur. 
p. 1377, a) expresses his agreement with B., but states his view differently : " de ijisa muliere cuyUavit tcrtplor iiiitiii he- 
niistichii prioris, turn vero m fine ad complendam sententiam loco muliens subjecluin fedl ("liTB-" Fuerst also pronounces 

r '■ 
it unnecessary to think of anj' other subject than HJl'S- — A.]. Compare however Hitzig's comment on this passage, who 

T ■■ 
remarks in defence of the common reading that ^'3 is here exceptionally treated as feminine, because not so much the 

house itself is intended as " the conduct and transactions in it " (comp. vii. 27 ; Isa. v. 14). 

Ver. 22. With 1i"\1p', the expression which is employed also iu Ps. xxxvii. 9, to convey the idea of destruction, 
there corresponds in the 2d clause !inO'> which as derived from HDJ (Deut. xxviii 63; Ps. lii. 5; Prov. xv. 25) would 

require to be taken as Imperf. Kal and accordingly to be translated actively: " they drive them out," i e., they are driven 
out (so e. g., Umbreit, Elster, and so essentially BERTHE.iU alsoj. But iiiasuiuch as the parallelism requires a passive verb 
as predicate for □''HJI^ (i. e., the faithless, those who have proved recreant to the theocratic covenant with Jehovah, 

comp. xi. 3, 6; xiii. 2 ; xxii. 12) which is employed unmistakably as synonymous with D'l'iy^, — and inasmuch as no verb 

' ■ T ; 
nnO exists as a basis for the assumed Niphal form !|nD', ^e must probably read with IIitzig ^TID'. as an Imperf. 

Hophal from PIDJ and compare np' as an Imperf. Hophal of plp^ (used with the Pual o( the same verb). 


1. Vers. 1-9. This first smaller division of the 
chapter, forms a connected proposition, whose 
hypothetical protasis includes vers. 1-4, while 
within the double apodosis (vers. 5 and 9) the 
confirmatory parenthesis, vers. (J-8 is introduced. 
The assertion of Ewald and Bi;rtheau [with 
whom KA.MPHAUSEN and Stuart agree] that the 
entire chap, forms only one grand proposition, 
rests on the false assumption that the "if" ^2 
in ver. 10 is to be regarded as a causal particle, 
and should be translated by "for,"' — to which 
idea the relation of ver. 10 both to ver. 9 aud to 
ver. 11 is opposed. Comp. Umbreit and IIitzig 
on this passage. [On the other hand, the LXX, 
Vulg., Luther, etc., complete the first proposi- 
tion, protasis and apodosis, within the first two 
verses; the Vulgate e. y. renders "si susceperis 
• . . inclina cor tuu/n, etc.," aud Luther " wilUt 

du meine Rede annehmen . . . So lass dein Ohr u. 
s. w." The E. V. ends the proposition with ver. 
5 as the apodosis. — A.]. — If thou receivest 
my words. To the idea of " receiving"' that of 
" keeping" stands related as the mare emphatic, 
just as " commandments " (niiTD) is a stronger 
expression than "words" (D'")DX). In the 
three following verses also we find this same in- 
creased emphasis or intensifying of the expres- 
sion in the second clause as compared with the 
first, — especially in ver. 4, the substance of which 
as a whole presents itself before us as a superla- 
tive, or final culmination of the gradation which 
exists in the whole series of antecedent clauses, 
in so far as this verse sets forth the most diligent 
and intent seeking after wisdom. — Ver. 3, "yea, 
if thou callest after knowledge, i. e., if thou 
not only incliuest thine ear to her when she 
calls thee, but also on thiue owu part callest 
after her, summonest her to teach thee, goest to 



meet her with eager questioning. This rela- 
tion of climax to the preceding is indicated by 
the DX '3, imo, yea, rather; comp. Hos. ix. 12; Is. 
xxviii. 28; Jobxxxix. 14 [comp. Ewald, §343, b]. 
The Targum translates the passage " If thou 
callest understanding thy mother," and must 
therefore have read DX '3. But the Masoretic 
pointing is to be preferred for lexical reasons 
(instead of DX, according to the analogy of Job 
xvi. 14 we should have expected 'J3X, "my mo- 
ther"), and because of the parallelism between 
vers. 1 and 3. Still " knowledge " {nr3), as 
well as " understanding," which is named as its 
counterpart in the parallel clause, appears 
evidently as personified. — Ver. 4. Ifthouseek- 
est her, etc. — "The figure of diligent seeking is 
taken from the tireless exertion employed in 
mining, which has before been described in the 
Book of Job, chap, xxviii., with most artistic vi- 
vacity in its widest extent. The D'JDCpO are 
surely the treasures of metal concealed in the 
earth (comp. Jerem.xli. 8; Jos. vii. 21)," Umbreit. 
[For illustrations of the peculiar significance of 
this comparison to the mind of Orientals, see 
Tho.mson's Land and Book, \., 197. — A.]. 

Ver. 5. Then wilt thou understand the 
fear of Jehovah. — "Understand" is here 
equivalent to taking something to one's self as a 
spiritual possession, like the "finding" in the 
second clause, or like c5tjfcri?a< ["receiveth"] in 
1 Cor. ii. 14. The "fear of Jehovah" (comp. i. 7) 
is here clearly presented as the highest good and 
most valuable possession of man (comp. Is. xxxiii. 
6), evidently because of its imperishable nature 
(Ps. xix. 9), and its power to deliver in trouble 
(Prov. xiv. 26; Ps. cxv. 11; Ecclesiast. i. 11 sq.; 
ii. 7 sq.). — And find knowledge of God. — 
Knowledge of God is here put not merely as a 
parallel idea to the " fear of Jehovah " (as in 
chap. ix. 10; Is. xi. 2), but it expresses a fruit 
and result of the fear of Jehovah, as the sub- 
stance of the following causal proposition in 
vers. 6-8 indicates. Comp. the dogmatical and 
ethical comments. [Is the substitution of Elohim 
for Jehovah (in clause 6) a mere rhetorical or 
poetical variation? Wordsworth calls attention 
to the fact that this is one of five instances in the 
Book of Proverbs in which God is designated as 
Elohim, the appellation Jehovah occurring nearly 
ninety times. The almost singular exception 
seems then to be intentional, and the meaning 
will be, the knowledge of ^'■Elohim — as distin- 
guished from the knowledge of man which is of 
little worth." In explaiuiag the all but univer- 
sal use of Jehovah as the name of God in our 
book, while in Eccles. it never occurs, Worus- 
WORTH says, " when Solomon wrote the Book of 
Proverbs he was in a state of favor and grace 
with Jehovah, the Lord God of Israel; he was 
obedient to the law of Jehovah; and tlie special 
design of the Book of Proverbs is to enforce obe- 
dience to that law," etc. (see Introd. to Eccles., 
p. 78)-A.]. 

Vers. 6-8. The Divine origin of wisdom must 
make it the main object of human search and 
effort, and all the more since its possession en- 
sures to the pious at the same time protectioa 

and safety. — And so he layeth up for the 
righteous sound wisdom. — So we must trans- 
late in accordance with the K'thibh |£)i>*1 which 
is confirmed by the LXX and Pesch. as the old- 
est reading. The K'ri {Si", without the copu- 
lative, would connect the proposition of ver. 7 
with ver. 6 as essentially synonymous with it, 
to which construction tlie meaning is however 
opposed. [The majority of commentators prefer 
the K'ri, making this verse a continuation and 
not a consequence of the preceding. Kamphau- 
SEN agrees with our author in what seems to us 
the more forcible construction, which has the ad- 
vantage also of resting on the written text ; comp. 
BoTTCHER, § 929, b. — A.]. |3i* to protect, to 
preserve, after the manner of a treasure or jewel, 
over which one watches that it may not be 
stolen; comp. above, ver 1, and also vii. 1 • x. 14. 
— In regard to rT'ti'TI [rendered "sound wis- 
dom" by the E. V. here and in iii. 21 ; viii. 14; 
xviii. 1] properly prosperity and wisdom united, 
see Introd., § 2, note 3. The word is probably 
related to U?', and denotes first the essential or 
actual (so e. g.. Job v. 12), and then furthermore 
help, deliverance (Job vi. 13). or wisdom, reflec- 
tion, as the foundation of all safety ; so here and 
iii. 21 ; viii. 14 ; xviii. 1 ; Job xi. 6 sq.; Is. 
xxviii. 29. Comp. Umbreit and Hirzel on Job v. 
12. HiTziG (on iii. 21) derives the word from 
the root T\')V, which he says is transposed into 
rii^l (? ?), and therefore defends as the primary 
signification of the expression " an even, smooth 
path," or subjectively " evenness," i. e., of 
thought, and so " considerateness ;" he compares 
with this "nty'ip which signifies "plain " as well 

as "righteousness." — A shield for them that 
walk blamelessly. — The substantive JJO 
(shield) is most correctly regarded as an appo- 
sitive to the subject, "Jehovah:" for also in Ps. 
xxxiii. 20; Ixxxiv. 11; Ixxxix. 18, Jehovah is in 
like manner called a shield to His saints. In 
opposition to the accusative interpretation of 
|J0 [which is adopted by Stuart among others], 
as object of the verb f3V (he secureth, or en- 
surcth) we adduce, on the one hand, the mean- 
ing of this verb, and on tlie other the fact that 
we should expect rather N'il |J0 (as an apposi- 
tive to iT'tyin). The old translations, as the 
LXX and Vulgate, furthermore read the word 
as a participle (!-25? ^^ l.'^I?) ' ^^^y translate it by 
a verb (LXX : vTvepaairiel t?/v izopeiav avriiv). — 

on 'Jin, literally the "walkers of innocence," 
are the same as "those that walk uprightly," 
Prov. X. 9 (the Dn3 DoSlH) or Ps. Ixxxiv. 11 
(the D'pn3 O'dSiH).— To protect the paths 
of justice, etc. — The 8th verse gives more spe- 
cifically the way in which God manifests Himself 
to the pious as a shield, and the ensurer of their 
safety. "Paths of justice" are here, by the 
substitution of the abstract for the concrete ex- 
pression, paths of the just, and therefore essen- 
tially synonymous with the "way of the pious" 
in the second clause. Comp. chap. xvii. 23. — Ver. 

CHAP. II. 1-22. 


9 carries out the import of the parallel ver 5 as 
the particle IX repeated from the preceding 

verse shows. — Every good path. — This ex- 
pression (31D~7JJ70~S3) includes the three con- 
ceptions given above, justice, righteousness and 
integrity, and thus sums up the whole enumera- 
tion. Therefore, it is attached without a copula ; 
comp. Vs. viii. ver. 9 b. 

2. Vers. 10-19 form a period which in struc- 
ture is quite like vers. 1-9; only that the hy- 
poihetic.-il protasis is here considerably shorter 
than in the preceding period, where the con- 
ditions of attaining wisdom are more fully given, 
and with an emphatic climax of the thought. 
This is connected with the fact that in the 
former period the Divine origin of wisdom, 
here, on the contrary, its practical utility for 
the moral life and conduct of man forms the 
chief object of delineation. There wisdom is 
presented predominantly as the foundation and 
condition of religious and moral rectitude in ge- 
neral, — here specially as a power for the conse- 
cration of feeling and conduct, or as a means of 
preservation against destructive lusts and pas- 
sions. — If wisdom entereth into thine 
heart. — This ''coming into the heart" must be 
the beginning of all attaining to wisdom; then, 
however, she who has, as it were, been received 
as a guest into the heart must become really 
lovely and dear to the soul. There is, therefore, 
a climax of the thought, as above in vers. 1-4. 
The heart is here, as always, named as the centre 
and organic basis of the entire life of the soul, as 
the seat of desire, and the starting point for all 
personal self-determination. The soul, on the 
contrary, appears as the aggregate and sum total 
of all the impulses and efforts of the inner man. 
The former designates the living centre, the latter 
the totality of the personal life of man. Comp. 
Beck, Bibl. Seele/ilehre, p. 65 ; Delitzsch. Bibl. 
P,ii/chol., pp. 248 sq.; von Rudloff, Lehre vom 
3Iensc/ien, pp. 59 sq. What the last mentioned 
author, pp. (ii sq., remarks in criticism upon Dk- 
liiTZSCH's too intellectual conception of the idea 
of the heart as the "birthplace of the thoughts," 
— that every where in the Scriptures it appears 
to belong more to the life of desire and feeling, 
than to the intellectual activity of the soul, — this 
view finds foundation and support especially in 
the passage now before us, as well as in most of 
the passages which mention heart and soul to- 
gether (e. ^., Prov. xxiv. 12; Ps. xiii. 2; Jerem 
iv. 19; Deut. vi. 5; Matth. xxii. 37; Acts iv. 
32). Comp. also Hitzig on this passage. — And 
knowledge is pleasant to thy soul — [For 
a peculiarity of grammatical structure in the 
original, see critical notes.] — Ver. 11. Then 

will reflection watch over thee. — '^^ IOC 

as in vi. 22. "lOty (construed, however, with a 
mere accusative of the object) and "^i'J have al- 
ready been found connected in ver. 8 above, and 
occur again in chap. iv. 6. iTDJO here reflection, 

T . : 

considerateness (LXX: ^ovAf/ Kali]), properly 
" wisdom, so far forth as its direction is out- 
ward, and it presents itself in relation to the un- 
certain, testing it, and to danger, averting it" 


Ver. 12. To deliver thee from an evil 

way — properly "from the way of evil." — • 
Prom the man that uttereth perverse 
ness. — nOs3nr> perverseness, a strong abstract 
form [found almost exclusively in Proverbs — 
FdkrstJ which expresses the exact opposite of 
D'TCO ("uprightness," ch. i. 3; ii. 9), — it is 
therefore deceitfulness, subtlety, maliciou.'^ness. 
Comp the expressions, " mouth of perverser.ess," 
chap. viii. 13 ; x. 32 ; " tongue of perverseness," 
X. 31; "man of perverseness," xvi. 28, also 
passages like vi. 14; xvi. 30, xxiii. 33. — Vers. 
13-15 Closer description of the wny ward or per- 
versely speaking man, in which, because of the 
generic comprehensiveness of the coriceptiou 
t!''X, the plural takes the place of the singular. — 
Who forsake straight paths — The participle 
D'3Tj,'n expresses, strictly interpreted, a preter- 
ite idea, 'those who have forsaken;" for ac- 
cording to ver. 15 the evil doers who are de- 
scribed are already to be found in crooked ways. 
— In dark v^rays. — Comp. Rom. xiii. 12; Eph. v. 
11 ; 1 Thess. v. 5; also Job xxiv. 15; Is. xxix. 
15. — Deceitful wickedness — literally "per- 
verseness of evil" (comp. remarks on ver. 12) a 
mode of combining two nouns which serves to 
strengthen the main idea. — Whose paths are 
crooked — literally, "who in respect to their 

ways are crooked;" for the prefixed Dp'rHlIX 
is to be construed as an accusative of relation 
belonging to the following WOD'^ ; comp. xix. 1 ; 
xxviii. 6. In the second clause in the place of 
this adverbial accusative, there is substituted the 
more circumstantial but clearer construction 
with 3 "perverse in their ways." 

Vers. 16-19. The representation passes info a 
warning against being betrayed by vile women, 
just as in v. 3; vi. 24; vii. 5 sq. — From 
the strange woman, from the w^an- 
ton woman. — As "strange woman" (HuX 
rr^f) or a "wanton woman" (iT'iIDJ. properly 
"unknown," and so equivalent to "strange or 
foreign woman") the betrayer into unchastity is 
here designated, so far forth as she is the wife 
of another (comp. vi. 26), who, however, has for- 
saken her husband (ver. 17), and therein has 
tr.tnsgressed also God's commanduient, has 
broken the covenant with her God (ver. 17,1. c). 
— The person in question is accordingly at all 
events conceived of as an Israelitess; and this is 
opposed to the opinion of those who, under the 
designation "the strange, or the foreign woman" 
(especially in connection with the last expression 
which appears as the designation of the adulter- 
ess in ciiap. v. 20; vi. 24; vii. 5; xxiii. 27), 
think first of those not belonging to the house of 
Israel, because the public prostitutes in Israel 
were formerly, for the most part, of foreign birth 
(so especially J. F. Frisch: Commentaho Je mu- 
lifre perei/r/7ia apud Ebrxos minus honeste habita, 
Leips., 1744, and among recent commentators, 
e. g., Umbreit). This view is in coiiliict with 
the context of the passage before us quite as de- 
cidedly as is the idea of the LXX, which inter- 
prets the foreign and wanton woman as the per- 
sonification of temptation in contrast with wis- 



dom (i. 1:0 sq.), but to carry out this view is 
obliged to introduce all manner of arbitrary re- 
lations, — e. g., referring that of the "companion 
of youth " in ver. 17 to the instruction in Divine 
truth [diSaaKOAta vsottjto^), which was a guide in 
youth. It is decisive against this allegorical 
conception of the strange woman, which has been 
a favorite with some Christian expositors also, 
such as Melanchthon, Joach. Lange, Chr. B. 
MiCHAELis, that the wicked and perverse men in 
vers. 12-15 cannot possibly be interpreted figu- 
ratively, but certainly only as individual con- 
crete representatives of moral evil. [This word 
n'"1D3 is " especially applied to those 'strange 
women' whom Solomon himself loved in his 
old age. and who turned away his heart from 
the Lord his God, and beguiled him to favor 
and encourage the worship of their false gods 
(see 1 Kings xi. 1-8; conip. Neh. xiii. 26, 27). 
Here is a solemn lesson. Solomon warns his 
son against that very sin of which he himself 
was afterwards guilty. Thus by God"s goodness 
Solomon's words in this Divinely inspired book 
were an antidote to the poison of his own vicious 
example" Wordsworth]. — Who maketh her 
■words smooth — i. c, who know.s how to speak 
flattering and tempting words ; comp. vii. 21 ; Ps 
V. 9; Rom. iii. lo. — V^er. 17. The companion 
of her youth. — The same expression occurs 
also in Jerem. iii. 4 ; comp. Ps. Iv. 13, where 
•^•wX in like manner means companion, con- 
fidant. The forsaking of this "companion 
of youth," I. e., the first lawful husband, is, at 
the same time, a "forgetting of the covenant of 
her God," i. e., a forgetting, a wilful disregard 
of that which she has solemnly vowed to God. 
Marriage appears here not merely as a covenant 
entered into in the presence of God, but in a cer- 
tain sense one formed with God. Quite similar 
is the representation in Mai. ii. 14, where the 
adulterous Israelite is censured for the faithless 
abandonment of his C^-lj^'J Htl^N (wife of youth) 
because God was witness with her at the forma- 
tion of the marriage covenant. That the mar- 
riages of the Israelites "were not consummated 
without sacred rites connected with the public 
religion, although the Pentateuch makes no men- 
tion of them," is accordingly a very natural as- 
sumption, — one whicli, e. g., Ewald, Bertheau, 
HiTziG. Reinke, v. Gerlvch, etc., have made on 
the ground of the two passages here under con- 
sideration, especially the passage in Malachi. 
Yet cotnpare besides A. Kohler on the latter 
passage [N'ar.hi-xiL. Prnphh., IV. 102 sq.), who 
finds there a witness of Jehovah, not at the con- 
summation, but at the violation of marriage. — 
Vers. 18, r.i. For her house sinks down to 
death, etc. — .V reason for the strong expre.-sioii 
in ver. Iti. "to deliver thee from tlie strange 
woman.'— And to the dead her paths.— Tiie 
^''^?1 ('• '"■' P'"i'P^''Iy 'he weak, languid, power- 
less [Gesen., Thes. : qwcti, silenles, — FiiERST,"the 
dark, the shadowy"]; comp. the ehhoAa Kn/^iov- 
Tuv of Homer, and the umhrie of Virgil) are the 
■dwellers in the kingdom of the dead (comp. ix.: 
xxi. 16: Ps. Ixxxviii. 10; Is. xiv. 9: xxvi. 14, 18, 
19), and stand here, like the Latin inferi, for the 
•worM of tlie dead, or Sheol itself. — Her visi- 

tors all return not again, — because from 
Sheol there is no return to the land of the living; 
see Job vii. 9, 10, — and comp. Prov. v. 5, 6. — 
Paths of life, as in Ps. xvi. 1 1 ; Prov. v. 6. 

3. Vers. 20-22. While the ]yoh [in order that] 
is strictly dependent on ver. 11, and co-oi-diuate 
with the 7 of the two final clauses in vers. 12 sq. 
and 16 sq., still we are to recognize in tlie an- 
nouncement of a purpose which it introduces, a 
conclusion of the entire admonitory discourse 
whicii this chapter contains, — an epilogue, as it 
were ("all this I say to thee in order that," etc.), 
which again may be resolved into a positive and 
a negative proposition (vers. 20, 21 and ver. 22). 

Umbreit's translation of U'^/by "therefore" is 
ungrammatical, nor can it be justified by refer- 
ence to passages like Ps. xxx. 12; li. 4; Ilos. 
viii. 4.— The upright shall inhabit the land. 
— In the description of the highest earthly pros- 
perity as a "dwelling in the land " {i. e., in the 
native land, not upon the earth in general, which 
would give a meaning altogether vague and in- 
definite), we find expressed the love of an l^^rae- 
lite for his fatherland, in its peculiar strength 
and its sacred religious intensity. " The Israe- 
lite was, beyond the power of natural feeling, 
which makes home dear to every one, more closely 
bound to the ancestral soil by the whole form of 
the theocracy ; torn from it he was in the inmost 
roots of life itself strained and broken. E.'^pe- 
cially from some Psalms belonging to the period 
of the exile this patriotic feeling is breathed out 
in the fullest glow and intensity. The same form 
of expression has also passed over into the New 
Testament, comp. Malt h. v. 5, and also, with regard 
to the idea as a whole, Ps. xxxvii. 9, 11, 29; Prov. 
X. 30" (Elster). — But the wicked shall be 
rooted out from the laud. — See critical notes 


He only who seeks after wisdom, i. c, who 
turns his practical efforts wholly toward it, and 
walks in its ways, finds true wisdom. For wis- 
dom in the objective sense, is a gift of God, an 
effluence from Him, the only wise (Rom. xvi. 27). 
It can therefore come into possession of him 
alone who seeks appropriately to make his own 
tlie true subjective wisdom, which is aspiration 
after God and divine things; who in thought 
and experience seeks to enter into communion 
with God ; who devotes himself entirely to God, 
subjects himself fully to His discipline and guid- 
ance, in order that God in turn may be able to 
give Himself wholly to him, and to open to iiim 
the blessed fulness of His nature. — This main 
thought of our chapter, which comes out with 
especial clearness in vers. 5, G. is essentially only 
another side, and somewhat profotmder concep- 
tion, of the motto which, in i. 7, is prefixed to 
the entire collection, viz., tliat the fear of Jeiio- 
vah is the beginning of wisdom. — or again, of 
the significant utterance in chap, xxviii. 5: 
'•They that seek God understand all things." 
Within the limits of the New Testament we may 
compare above all else, what the Lord, in John vii. 
17, presents as the condition of a full comprehen- 

CHAP. II. 1-22. 


sion of Himself and of the divine truth revealed 
in Him: "If any man will do His will he shall 
know whether this doctrine be of God;" like- 
wise : " Ask and it shall be given you ; seek and 
ye shall find," etc. (Matt. vii. 7); and also: 
" Awake tliou that sleepest, and arise from the 
dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Eph. 
V. 14). Comp. further the passage from the 
Book of AVisdom (chap. vi. 12, 13), which Me- 
LAXCiiTiioN, with perfect propriety, cites in this 
connection : " Wisdom is willingly found of them 
that seek her, yea, she cometh to meet and maketh 
herself known to those that desire her;" arid 
also Daviil's language : "In thy light do we see 
light" (I's. xxxvi. 9), the well-known favorite 
motto of Augustine, which in like manner, as 
it was employed by the jirofound metaphysician 
IMalebranche, ought to be used by all Christian 
philosophers as their daily watchword and sym- 

In the second section of this admonition (vers. 
10-19) this true wisdom, to be conferred by God, 
to be found only with God, is more coiniiletcly 
exhibited, on the side of its salutary influence 
upon the moral life of humanity, especially as a 
preserver against sin and vice and their ruinous 
consequences. After this in conclusion the 
epilogue (vers. 20-22) contrasts the blessed re- 
sults of wise and righteous conduct and the pun- 
ishment of ungodliness in strongly antithetic 
terms, which remind us of the close of the first 
I'salm and of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 
vii. 24-27 ; comp. Ps. i. G). Comp. the exegeti- 
cal comments on these two sections. 


Homily on the entire chapter: The main stages 
in the order of grace, contemplated from the 
point of view of the wisdom of the Old Testa- 
ment: 1) The call (vers. 1-4) ; 2) Enlightenment 
(vers. 5, 0) ;■ 3) Conversion (vers. 7-10) ; 4) Pre- 
servation or sanctification (vers. 11-20); 5) Per- 
fection (vers. 21, 22). — Stauke: — The order of 
proceeding for the attainment of true wisdom 
and its appropriate use: 1) the order for the 
attainment of wisdom consists in this, — that we 
a) ask for it, (1-3), b) search for it with care and 
diligence (4). 2) The wisdom thus attained is 
the only ti'uc wisdom, .as appears a) from its own 
characteristics (5), b) from the person of its 
giver (tj), c) from the conduct of the men who 
possess it (7, 8). 3) This only true wisdom is 
profitable, a) for the attainment of righteousness 
in faith and life (9-11, b) for deliverance from 
evil (12-19), c) for the steadfast maintenance of 
an upright life (20-22). — Simpler and better 
Stocicer : — Sludioxi sapientix I ) ojficium (1-8) ; 2) 
priciiiiuni (9-22). [The student of wisdom 1) in 
his duty, 2) in his reward]. — Calwrr llnndh.: 
The way to wisdom consists 1) in listening to its 
call (1, 2) ; 2) in searching for it prayerfully 
(3-6) ; 3) in deference to that portion of wisdom 
which one has already attained, by earnestness 
in a holy walk (7-9); 4) in the experience of the 
power of wisdom, which lies in this, that it pre- 
serves from ways of evil, especially of impurity 

Vers. 1-9. MELANCHTHON:-"He admonishes how 
we may make progress (in wisdom): for he com- 

bines two causes: 1) God's aid; 2) our own zeal." 
(No. 2 ought here necessarily to have been put 
first — an improvement which was made by 
StocIvER in his reproduction of this analysis of 
Melanciithox). — Stocker: — The rounds upon 
which one must, with divine help, climb up to 
the attainment of wisdom are seven: 1) eager 
hearing; 2) firm retention ; 3) attentive medita- 
tion; 4) unquestioned progress; 5) due humilia- 
tion; 6) devoted invoking of God's help; 7) 
tireless self-examination. — [Chalmers (on vers. 
1-9): — The righteousness of our conduct con- 
tributes to the enlightenment of our creed. The 
wholesome reaction of the moral on the intellec- 
tual is clearly intimated here, inasmuch as it is 
to the righteous that God imparteth wisdom]. — 
Starke (on vers. 1-4): — As the children of the 
world turn their eyes upon silver and treasures, 
run and race after them, make themselves much 
disquiet to attain them, though after all they are 
but shadows and vanity ; so ought the children 
of God to use much more diligence to attain 
heavenly wisdom, which endures forever, and 
makes the man who possesses it really prosper- 
ous. — [Vers. 1-6. Bridges: — Earthly wisdom is 
gained by study ; heavenly wisdom by prayer. 
Study may form a Biblical scholar; prayer puts 
the heart under a heavenly pupilage, and there- 
fore forms the wise and spiritual Christian. But 
prayer must not stand in the stead of diligence. 
Let it rather give life and energy to it. — Arnot 
(vers. 2): — The ear inclined to divine wisdom 
will draw the heart: the heart drawn will in-line 
the oar. Behold one of the circles in which God, 
for His own glory, makes His unnumbered worlds 
go round. — (Ver. 4). Fervent prayer must be 
tested by persevering pains. — Trapp (ver. 2) : — 
Surely as waters meet and rest in low valleys, 
so do God's graces in lowly hearts. — (Ver. 3). 
A dull suitor begs a denial]. — Starke (On vers. 
5-9) : — Righteousness of faith and righteousness 
of life are closely connected. As soon as the 
first exists (vers. 5-8) the other must also show 
itself in an earnest and pure walk before God 
and man, Luke i. 74, 75; Phil. i. 11. — Lange 
(on ver. 6) : — One may indeed by natural know- 
ledge very readily learn that God is a very be- 
nevolent being; but how He becomes to a sinner 
the God of love, this can be learned only from 
the mouth of God in the Holy Scriptures. — ■ 
[Trai'P (ver. 9) : — "Thou shalt understand right- 
eousness," not as coffuoscitiva, standing in specu- 
lation, but as directivn vitx, a rule of life.] 

Vers. 10-22.— [Ver. II. Bridges :— Before 
wisdom was the object of our search. Now, 
having found it, it is our pleasure. Until it is 
so it can have no practical influence. — Arnot: — 
It is pleasure that can compete with pleasure; it 
is "joy and peace in believing" that can over- 
come the pleasure of sin.] — Stocker (on vers. 
10-12) : — Wisdom helps such as love her in all 
good, and preserves them against all evil; she 
directs them to the good and turns them from 
the evil way. — (On vers. 12-19): — Wisdom de- 
livers from the three snares of the devil, viz., 
l)from a godless life; 2) from false doctrine; 
3) from impurity and licentiousness. — Starke 
(on vers. 12 sq.): — Daily experience teaches us 
that we are by nature in a condition from which 
we need deliverance. But how few are there of 


those who are willing to be delivered, Matt. I vers. 21, 22): — People who mean rightly neither 
xxiii. 37! — (On vers. :iO-22); — Not merely some with God nor men are with their posterity 
steps in the right way, but continuing to the end ] rooted out of the world, lie who observes will 
brings blessedness, Matt. xxiv. 18! — Granted | even now see plain proofs of this. Vs. Ixxiii. 19; 
that for a time it goes ill with the godly in this I xxxiv. l(j. — Von Gerlacii (on ver. 21:) — The 
world. God's word must nevertheless be made j meaning of the promise, so common in the law, 
good, if not here, surely in eternity, Ps. cxxvi. j of "the pious dwelling in the land" depends 
f). — [Bridges: — The spell of lust palsies I he grasp especially on the fact that Canaan was type and 
by which its victim might have tokcri hold of the \ pledge of the eternal inheritance of the saints in 
vaths of life for his deliverance. J — Hasius (on j light. 

4. Continuation of the exhibition of the salutary results of a devout and pious life. 

CuAP. III. 1-18. 

1 My son, forget not my doctrine, 

and let thy heart keep ray commandments ; 

2 for length of days and years of life 
and welfare will they bring to thee. 

3 Let not love and truth forsake thee ; 
bind them about thy neck, 

write them upon the tablet of thy heart; 

4 so wilt thou find favor and good reputation 
in the eyes of God and of men. 

5 Trust in Jehovah with all thy heart, 
and rely not on thine own understanding. 

6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, 
and he will make smooth thy paths. 

7 Be not wise in thine own eyes; 
fear Jehovah and depart from evil. 

8 Healing will then come to thy body 
and refreshing to thy bones, 

9 Honor Jehovah with thy wealth, 

and with the best of all thine income ; 

10 so will thy barns be filled with plenty 
and with new wine will thy vats overflow. 

11 Jehovah's correction, my son, despise not, 
neither loathe thou his chastening ; 

12 for whom Jehovah loveth, him he chasteneth 
and holdeth him dear, as a father his son. 

13 Blessed is the man that hath found wisdom, 
and he that attaineth understanding; 

14 for better is its accumulation than the accumulation of silver, 
and her gain (is better) than the finest gold. 

15 More precious is she than pearls, 
and all thy jewels do not equal her. 

16 Long life is in her right hand, 

in her left hand riches and honor. 

17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, 
and all her paths (are paths) of j)pace. 

18 A tree of life is she to those that lay hold upon her, 
and he who holdeth her fast is blessed. 

CHAP. III. 1-35. 69 

6 Description of the powerful protection which God, the wise Creator of the world, ensures to 

the pious. 

Chap. III. 19-26. 

19 Jehovah hath with wisdom founded the earth, 

the heavens (hath he) established by understanding; 

20 by his knowledge were the floods divided, 
and the clouds dropped down dew. 

21 My son, never suffer to depart from thine eyes, 
maintain (rather) thoughtfulness and circumspection ; 

22 so will they be life to thy soul 
and grace to thy neck. 

23 Then wilt thou go thy way in safety 
and thy foot will not stumble. 

24 When thou liest down thou wilt not be afraid, 
and when thou liest down thy sleep is sweet. 

25 Thou needst not fear from sudden alarm, 

nor from the destruction of the wicked when it cometh. 

26 For Jehovah will be thy confidence 
and keep thy foot from the snare. 

6. Admonition to benevolence and justice. 
Chap. III. 27-35. 

27 Refuse not good to him to whom it is due, 
when thine hands have power to do it. 

28 Say not to thy neighbor : " Go and come again ;" 

or " to-morrow I will give it " — while yet thou hast it. 

29 Devise not evil against thy neighbor 
while he dwelleth securely by thee. 

30 Contend with no man without cause, 
when he did thee no evil. 

31 Imitate not the man of violence 
and choose none of his ways. 

32 For an abhorrence to Jehovah is the deceiver, 

but with the upright he maintaineth true friendship. 

33 Jehovah's curse dwelleth in the house of the wicked 
but the home of the just he blesseth. 

34 If he scorneth the scorners, 
to the lowly he giveth grace. 

35 Honor shall the wise inherit, 
but shame sweepeth fools away. 


Ver. 6.— [The idea of the verb "Itj/" is not that of guidance [E. V.: "shall direct thy paths "], but that of making 
Btraight (Stuart), or, perhaps, better still, making smooth (Fcerst, De W., Kamph.). — A.] 

Vers. 7, 8.— [TIP " /X. the •' dehortative " use of the Jussive, Bott., ? 964, 8 ; while in ver. 8 we have an example of the 
"desponsive" use— i< shall fee.— ^"^tyS. For the doubling of the 1 by Dagesh see Bott., §392 c. He explains it as "mi- 
metic for greater vigor." Some texts carry this even into the succeeding '^, § 885, A. Fuerst (Lex., sub verba) pronounces 

it unnecessary to change the vocalization as proposed by some commentators and preferred by Zockler, and agrees with 
Umbkeit in his view oi the meaning. — A.J 

Ver. 12.— In the ordinary rendering, "even as a father the son in whom he deliehfeth." or "whom he holds dear" 
[which is the rendering, e.y., of the E. V., De Weite, Stuart, Notes, Mue.nsch.], Hi'T is construed as in a relative clause. 

But then we should expect rather the perfect nV^ ; and there should have been in the first clause a comparative proposi- 
tion of like constniction with the one before us. Thi> LXX, from which H' b. xii. 5 is literally quoted [a rendering which 
Holden adopts and defends], appears to I ave read 3ND' instead of 3X3^1, fur it translates the second clause by liacriyol 

Je TrdvTa uib;' or 7rapa6ex€Tat [scourgeth every con whom he receiveth]. This old variation, however, appears to owe its 
origin to the endeavor to secure a better parallelism. [Kamph. adopts a slightly different rendering, which makee the lat- 



ter fart of the claii'se relative, but makes the rel itive the sulijei-t and not the object of the verb, thus obviating the objec- 
tion iu regard to tense ; and (dealeth) as a jatha- (whoj wisltelh well to his son. Tiie J1X ttr J^X at the beginning of the 

verse i8 explained by Boti., §362, 3, as the result of assimilation to the subsequent nX- — A.J 

Yer. IS.— Iu the Hebrew "1127X0 iTDOm the plural DOOri is employed distributively, or, as it were, of undefined 
T ■•. ; T .■ . : 
individuals, for which reason its predicate stands in the singular; comp. Gen. xlvii. 3; Num. xxiv. 9; Gjcsen., Lehrgeb., p. 
7lu; KWALD, flOJ, a j BiJTT., i'iO'Z, SJ 

Yer. 2G. — The 3 ia 717033 is the so-called 3 csscniix, which serves for the emphatic and strengthened introduction 
of the predi ato, as, e.g., in '"1'J73- Ex. xviii. 1 (Gesen., Lfhrgeb., 839; Ewald, Lehrb., 217 f.). 

Yer. 2". — "When tliy hands have powrr to do it;" literally -'when thy hands are for Qod." With this phrase com- 
pare T Sx^ l^\ Gun. xxxi. 29, Micah ii. 1; or T SX7 TX, Deut. xxviii. 32; Neh. v. 5. [The weight, both of 

T • • • , . . I ■■ 

lexicograpliical and exegetical authority, is, and, we think, plainly should be, against this view of the author. See, e. g., 

Qesen. aud Fuerst; 7X has assigned to it distinctly the-iguification "strength," the abstract quality corresponding to the 

confrote, " th" s'rnng," i.e.. God. It belongs to the power^it i^ ''n the power]. Inasmu h as in these idioms the singular 
T always occurs, tlie K'ri reads in our passage also TT. and the LXX fur the same reason had translated >) \tip aov (the 

• :|T 
translation being a free one; Frankel. Vorstudien zur Sepfuaginta, p. 2-39). Yet there is no grammatical reason whatever 
for the change. 

Yer. 26. — [n"yi7, K'thibh, another distriuutive plural, where the K'ri has a singular; see BoTT , ^^ 702, d — S86, c. 


Yer. 30. — [Holden translates the last clause "surely he will return thee evil," because the ordinary rendering "gives 

to the word 7OJ the sense of doing or p»rformiug, which it seems never to bear, but always that of returning, requiting, 

- T 

rer,nmj)onsiiigy The primary import, however, se-'ms to be to collect, to complete, which fact, together with the tense, jus- 
tifies the almost entire unanimity which sustains the ordinary runderiug. — A.J 


1. The close connection between this group of 
admonitions and chap. ii. appears at once exter- 
nally iu the resuming of the address "My son " 
(ii, 1 ), wliicli recurs three times in chap iii , vers. 
1,11,21, — without, however, for that reason, 
introducing in each instance anew paragraph; for 
in ver. 11 at least the series of admonitions begin- 
ning in ver. 1 continues in its former tone with 
out interruption (comp especially ver, 9), — and 
again the new commencement in ver. 21 does not 
equal in importance that in ver 19 sq,, or that 
in ver. 27 sq. — Hitzig maintains that vers. 22-20 
are spurious, inasmuch as the promise of reward 
which it contains, after the earlier briefer sug- 
gestions of virtue's reward in vers. 4, 6, 8, 10, 
seems tedious and disturbing ; inasmuch as their 
style of expression appears tame, prosaic, and 
even, in some degree,; inasmuch as there 
may be detected in them traces of a strange ami 
later idiom (e. ff., the jni D'TI [life and grace] 
in ver. 22 ; the HXi^ [destruction] in ver. 25 , 
the 1370 [from the snare] in ver. 26) ; and 
finally — the thing which appears in fact to have 
given the chief impulse to his suspicion — inas- 
much as from the omission of these five verses 
there would result another instance of the deci- 
mal grouping of verses before we come again to 
the address to the "children " of wisdom in chap. 
iv. 1, just as before the 'J3 [my son] in vers. 11 
and 21 was repeated in each case after ten 
verses. But since no kind of external testimony 
can be adduced in support of this assumption. of 
an interpolation, while, on the other hand, a ver- 
sion as old as the LXX contains the verses en- 
tire, the suspicion appears to rest on grounds 
wholly subjective, and to be supported by rea- 
sonings that are only specious Tliis is espe- 
cially true of the fact that there are in each in- 
stance ten verses between the first addresses, 
" my son," — which lr)ses all its significance when 
we observe that in chap. i. the same address re- 

curs at much shorter intervals, — that between 
the "my son" in chap, ii, 1 and the first in the 
third chapter there are no less than 22 verses, — 
and that finally the paragraphs or " strophes " 
formed by the repetition of this address in the 
two following chapters (iv. 10 sq.; iv. 20 sq ; v. 
1 sq.) are by no means of equal length, and can 
be brought into uniformity ouly by critical vio- 
lence (the rejection of chap, iv. 16, 17 and 27). — 
If we therefore cannot justify Hitzig's endeavor 
to produce by the exclusion of several verses a. 
symmetrical external structure for our chapter, 
i e., a division of it into three equal strophes, we 
are also obliged to dift'er w'ith liim when he con- 
ceives of the contents as mainly admonitory, in 
contrast with the more descriptive character of 
chap. ii. For here as there we find admonitions, 
direct or indirect, to the securing and retaining 
of wisdom (vers. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 21, 27 sq.) al- 
ternating with delineations of the blessedness 
which becomes the portion of its possessors 
(vers. 4, 6 b, 8, 10, 22 sq., 32 sq.), or with 
praises of wisdom itself (vers. 13 sq., 19 sq.). 
Especially are the commencement and conclusion 
of the chapter in close correspondence with those 
of chap, ii., and accordingly justify our concep- 
tion of the general import of the proverbial dis- 
courses which it contains, as being a sort of con- 
tinuation of the longer discourse which consti- 
tutes the preceding chapter. Only in two points 
do we find essentially new material introduced 
into the representation, which is now niainlj' ad- 
monitory and again chiefly descriptive, — viz., in 
vers. 19 sq., where the protecting and preserving 
power of wisdom is illustrated by a reference to 
God's creative wisdom as the original source and 
model of all human wisdom, — and in vers. 27 sq., 
where in the place of the previous admonitions 
of a fiiore general nature there appears a special 
admonition to love of one's neighbor, as the sum 
ami crown of all virtues. Therefore (with De- 
HTZscii, comp. above, Introd., § 15) at each of 
these points we begin a new section. 

2. Continued representation of the salutary conse- 
quences of a wise and devout life. Vers. 1-18. 

CHAP. III. 1-35. 


Vers. 1, 2. Forget not my teaching. — 

The substance of this teaching (iTTljl, as in i. 8), 
or the enumeration of the individual commands 
(fliyo) of which it consists, begins with ver. 3. — 
Length of days, properly "extension of days " 
(D'O' 'niX;/ as in Ps. xxi. 4), is a description of 
earthly prosperity as it is promised to wisdom 
for a reward. Comp. Ex. xx. 12; 1 Kings iii. 14. 
For that this long life is a happy one, a "living 
in the promised land" (Dcut. iv. 40; v. 80; vi. 
2; xi. 9; xxii. 7; xxx. IG), an "abiding in the 
house of the Lord" and under His blessing (Ps. 
XV. 1; xxiii. 6; xxvii. 3), — this is plainly assum- 
ed. Comp. the parallel expression U)i'd [peace] 
in the second member, which here, as below in 
ver. 17, describes the safety which belongs only 
to the pious, the religious peace of mind of which 
the ungodly know nothing (Is. xlviii. 22; Ivii. 
21). — Vers. 3, 4. The first of tlie commandments 
announced in ver. 1, with the corresponding pro- 
mise of reward. — Love and truth. — These 
ideas r\3X1 "IDn wliich are very often associated, 
in our I>ook, e. g., in xiv. 22; xvi. 6 ; xx. 28, — 
are, wlicn predicated of man, the designation of 
those attributes in which the normal perfection 
of his moral conduct towards his neighbor ex- 
presses itself. "Ipn, whicli, as a Divine attribute, 
is equivalent to mercy or grace, designates "the 
disposition of loving sympatliy with others, 
which rests upon the feeling of brotherhood, the 
feeling that all men are of like nature, creatures 
of tlie same God." This feeling, wliich is the 
prime factor in our moral life by which society 
is constituted, has for its natural basis the desti- 
tution and defencelessness of isolated man; from 
which springs the deeper necessity not only to 
augment power by mutual outwaril lielp, but also 
by the interchange of thoughts and emotions to 
effect a richer development of spiritual life, and 
to discern what in one's own feeling is purely 
individual, and what is common and eteinal " 
(Elster). r\OX then designates inward truth- 
fulness, the pectus rectum, the very essence of a 
true man opposed to all hypocrisy and dissimu- 
lation, the endeavor to mould every form into 
the closest possible correspondence with the na- 
ture of the thing, on which depends all the relia- 
bleness and security of life's relations" (Elster, 
comp. Ujibrioit). Tiie proofs of a life regulated 
by " love", and " truth," and so of comluct toward 
one's neighbor, as loving as it is true, a genuine 
akrj-dEvEiv iv aya.-i) [truth in love, Eph. iv. 15] 
are suggested in the following admonitory dis- 
course in vers. 27 sq. — Bind tliem about thy 
neck — not as talismans and amuleis, as U.mdre[t 
suggests, but simply as costly ornaments, which 
one wears upon the neck (comp. i. D; also vii. 3); 
or again as treasures which one will secure 
against loss, and therefore (if valued like a sig 
net ring, G"u. xxxviii. 18; Jer. xxii. 24) wears 
attached lo a chain about the neck. The latter 
explanation, to which Hitzig gives the prefer- 
ence, seems to be favored especially by chap. vi. 
21, and also by the analogy of the parallel ex- 
pressicu " v.-rite upon the tablet of the heart," i. e., 
thoroug:ily impress upon one's self and appro- 
priate the virtues in question (love and truth — 

not perchance the "commandments" mentioned 
in ver. 1, of which C. B. Michaelis and others 
here think without any good reason) ; comp. Jer. 
xxxi. 33 ; 2 Cor. iii. 3 [" To bind God's law about 
the neck is not only to do it, but to rejoice in do- 
ing it; to put it on, and to exult in it as the 
fairest ornament." AVordsw.]. — So wilt thou 
find favor and good reputation — liieially, 
"and so find," etc. (Xi'C'j ; the luiper. with l 
vo'iscc. stands for an Imperf. (Ewalb, Lchrb., 235); 
for "by the command the certainty that obedi- 
ence will follow is promoted," HiTzicj. Conip. iv. 
4; XX. 13; Gen. xlii. 8; Isa. viii. 9; xlv. 22. 
[BiiTT. calls this the " desponsive " imperative; 
see § 957, (3 — A.]. — "Find favor or grace" 
(in Ni'D) as in Jer. xxxi. 2 ; 1 Sam. ii. 26 ; Luke 

I" T T 

ii. 52 ; only that in these passages, instead of 
"in the eyes of God" [i. e., according to God's 
judgment, comp. Gen. x. 9 ; 2 Chron. xxx. 22) the 
siuipler phrase " with God " (DX, Trapd) is com- 
bined with the formula under discussion. — 
Good reputation. — Thus we translate, as 
IIiTziG docs, the expression 310 ^'^\l, which be- 
low in chap. xiii. 15, as in Ps. cxi. 10, conveys 
the idea of good understanding or sagacity [so 
the E. v., Bertheau, Kamph. render it in this 
passage also] ; but here, as in 2 Chron. 
xxx. 20, denotes the judgment awarded to any 
one, the favorable view or opinion held concern- 
ing any one. [Fuerst, Van Ess, etc., prefer this 
rendering, while Gesen., De W., Stuart, Noyes, 
Muensciier translate "good success." — A.]. 
With this interpretation the "finding favor" 
will have reference more to God, the "finding 
good opinion or favorable judgment" predomi- 
nantly to nun. [Kampii., however, insists that 
the idea is indivisible — universal favor.] 

Vers. 5, '!. Trust in Jehovah with all 
thine heart, etc.: the fundanu'nial priucj]ile of 
all religion, consisting in an entire self-comoiit- 
ment to the grace and truth of God, with the 
abandonment of every attempt to attain blessed- 
ness by one's own strength or wisdom ; comp. 
Ps. xxxvii. 3 sq. : cxviii. 8, 9; Jer. ix. 22. — Re- 
gard him. "i^J:''^, strictly "take notice of 
him," i. e.. recognize Him as the unconditional 
controller over all thy willing and doing. Comp. 
the opposite: 1 Sam. ii. 12, and in general for 
this pregnant use of the verb yi" Ps. i. 6; 
xxxvii. 18; Am. iii. 2, etc. — Vers. 7,8. Fear 
Jehovah and depait from evil (comp. xiv. 
16 ; xvi. 6 ; Joli i. 1 ; sxviii. 28) ; an absolute 
contrast to the first clause of the verse; for he 
who fears God distrusts his own wisdom, when 
this perch'ance presents evil and wayward action 
as something agreeable and desirable (Gen. iii. 
5). — Healing w^ill then be (come) to thy 
body. Thus proliably is the phrase ■'HP r'Xtil 

to be explained, with Bertheau and IIitzig, — 
for to express the idea " healing is this to thy 
body," (Umhreit, Evvald, Elsthr, and most of 
the elder commentators) N'H n?N£)"J would ratlier 

have been required. — Instead of 'I'l^.t-'/ '^y 
navel (which, according to Umbreit, here, un- 
like Ezek. xvi. 4 ; Song of Sol. vii. 3, is intended 
to be a designation of the whole body by a part 
of special physiological importance) it will pro- 



bably be correct to read ^"^p^ as a contraction 
of ^TXtyS, or 'ITk^?'? as in chap. iv. 22. For 
translations as early as the LXX and Peshito 
express simply the idea " to thy body," to which 
furthermore the parallel "to thy bones" corres- 
ponds better (comp xiv. 30; Micah iii. 2) than 
to the very far-fetched expression "to thy 
navel."— Refreshing to thy bones. '^Ipi^ 
strictly irrigation, watering, then refreshing, 
invigoratiou ; here in contrast with the "lan- 
guishing of the bones" (Ps. xxxii. 3, 4), i. e., 
their drying up under a fever heat or an inward 
anguish of soul, e. ff., the pangs of a troubled 
conscience. Comp. Job xxi. 24; Is. Iviii. 11. 

Vers. 9, 10. Honor Jehovah with thy 
riches. The JO in 'IP.inO and the following 

phrase ^nN-12n-S3 n'K^XID is certainly not to 
be construed as partitive, as though God was to 
be honored with a part only of one's wealth and 
of the first fruits of one's increase (so e. g., 
Bertheau), but the preposition |0 here ex- 
presses the idea of a coming forth out of some- 
thing, as in Ps. xxviii. 7 ; 2 Kings vi. 27. In 
opposition to the comparative idea which Ewald 
endeavors to bring out from the JD ("more than 
thy wealth") see Hitzio on this passage. With 
regard to the idea itself compare passages like 
Ex. xxiii. 19; Deut. xviii. 4 sq. ; xxviii. 8 sq. ; 
Mai. iii. 10-12. That the offering in sacrifice 
the first fruits of the field and of the other 
revenues of one's possessions or labors was not 
only enjoined by their law up6n the people of 
God under the Old Testament, but that it was 
also practiced by other ancient nations as a 
usage connected with religious worship, appears 
from passages in classical authors, e. g.. Dion. 
SicuL., 1., 14: Plut. «?e hide, p. 377; Pliny's 
Hist. Nat., 18, 2. Comp. in general Spencer, 
Delegibus Hehrxoruin ritualibus, p. 713, sq. ("ri« 
primitiarum origine^'). [Be not content witii lip- 
service, but obey God's law by making the pre- 
scribed oblation and by bringing also free-will 
offerings to Him." — VVordsw. Our author's 
notes, in their distinct recognition of the first 
fruits as required for and by Jehovah, are to be 
preferred to his version, which has the more ge- 
neral but. less Jewish idea that "the best" should 
be given. — A.] — "With new wine will thy 
vats overflow. ^^^^3', literally: they will ex- 
tend themselves, separate, swell up Comp. the 
use of the same verb |*^3 with reference to 
rapiilly increasing flocks; Gen. xxx. 20; Job 
i. 10. — Similar strong metaphors for the descrip- 
tion of a rich abundance and the blessing of the 
harvest may be found, e.g., Joel iv. 18; Amos 
ix. 13 ; Lev. xxvi. 5. 

Vers. 11,12. Jehovah's correction despise 
thou not. To the "despising" (DXO here as 
in the quite similar passage Job v. 17 [from 
which WoRDSW. thinks our passage to be de- 
rived]), the "loathing" or "abhorring" ^]''p) 

is evidently the climax. [In the E. V. ger erally 
this distinction between the two verbs '.s very 
fairly made; the prevailing rendering of the 
former being "despise, disdain, reject refuse," 

while that of the latter is "loathe, abhor." In 
the present instance the rendering might easily 
be taken as an anti-climax — A.]. — And holds 
him dear as a father his son. For the gene- 
ral idea that God's corrections are essentially 
nothing but revelations of His educating love 
and fatherly faithfulness, comp. in the Old Tes- 
tament especially Deut. viii. 5 ; Ps. cxviii. 18 ; 
Lam. iii. 33 sq. 

Vers. 13-18. Enthusiastic praise of true wis- 
dom, which is one with the fear of God. — » 
Blessed is the man that hath found wis- 
dom. The perfect Xi'O, who hath found, 

* T 1 

expresses the idea of permanent possession ; the 
parallel imperfect p'D^ (from pID, procedere; 
therefore, to bring forth, to bring to view, to 
bring to pass, comp. viii. 35; xii. 2; xviii. 22) 
denotes a continually renewed and repeated at- 
taining. The iKftd/.TiEtv ("bring forth") used of 
the scribe "instructed unto the kingdom of 
heaven," Matt. xiii. 52. cannot be compared 
directly with our expression, since p'SH clearly 

contains an idea synonymous and not one con- 
trasted with N2fO. — Better is her accumula- 

T T 

tion than the accumulation of silver. 

mno does not, like the corresponding term '1i3 

_ r ; - ' _ ^ =■ ■ : 

in the parallel passage, viii. 19, denote what 
wisdom brings by way of gain, but the very act 
of gaining and acquiring [k^nopeveaOai, LXX). 
So with nnXOn, that which comes with and in 

T T : 

herself, the gain which exists in herself [The 
"merchandise" of the E. V. is unfortunately 
obscure and misleading]. — Than the finest 
gold. |*On signifies, according to most of the 
old interpreters, the finest and purest gold 
(Vulg. : auruin primum). The etymology leads, 
in the unmistakable identity of the root ]*in with 
that of the Greek ;i:pt"Tdr, at first only to the idea 
of clear or bright shining, gleaming or glittering 
(corufcare). Gold is therefore, on the ground of 
its brilliancy, named in the climax as a more 
precious possession than silver, to which in ver. 
15 the "pearls" (instead of the K'thibh D^JiJ 

we shall be constrained to give an unqualified 
preference to the K'ri DTJp, comp. viii. 11 ; xx. 
15: xxxi. 10, etc.) siipply the culmination in 
the series, and the generalizing term "all thy 
jewels" includes the three specified items with 
all similar articles of value. Comp. viii. 11 ; 
Job xxviii. 18, where our verse recurs almost 
literally. In the latter passage (Job xxviii, 
15-19) besides silver, gold and pearls, various 
other gems, f. /7., onyx, sapphire, coral, amber, 
topaz, etc., are mentioned as falling far below 
the value of wisdom. In the LXX there appear 
both in ver. 15 and in KJ amplifying additions, 
in respect to which Hnzio, while not regarding 
as original the double clause interpolated in ver. 
15 between the two members: o'vk avriraacerac 
ai'TT] o'kUv TrtirT//)6i>. EryroiGro^ earcv Trnniv Tolg 
kyyi^nvaiv ai'Tri [no evil thing competes with her. 
She is well known to all those that approach 
her], yet considers it as resting upon an interpo- 
lation that had already made its way into the 
Hebrew text. The supplement added to Ter. 16: 
« Toh (j-6fxnro(; avrrjq EKirofieve-ai liiKaioarvt), vdfiov 
(U Kal iXeov errl yT.dtaarjQ <popei [from her mouth 

CHAP. III. 1-35. 


proceedeth righteousness, law and mercy doth 
she bear upon her tongue] IIeidenhkiji regards 
as the gloss of an Alexandrian Jew, who de- 
signed with it, to oppose certain Pharisaic inter- 
pretations (?). — Long life is in her right 
hand, etc. Wisdom here appears personified, 
endowed with a human boiy and members, — 
and in ver. 16 at first in a general way, in ver. 

17 so that she is represented as walking, in ver. 

18 so that she appears standing like a tree, that 
dispenses shade and precious fruits, nj'0'3 and 

n7lN:Dty3 in ver. IG are at any rate not to be 
translated " a< her right hand," and " a< her left 
hand" (so Luther and many old interpreters, 
conforming toPs. xvi. 8; xlv. 9; ex. 5), but "m 
her right and left hand," in accordance with 
Ps. xvi. 11; Is. xliv. 20, where the preposition 
3 expresses the same idea. — "Long life," liter- 
ally, "length of days," as above, in ver. 2, 
from which passage the LXX has here repeated 
also the phrase" /cat irj] (cj/]^." — Riches and 
honor, as in viii. 18; xxii. 4. "The blessings 
which wisdom olfers are appropriately distributed 
between the hands, according to their essential 
difference. The right hand is regarded as tiie 
nearer; and that one live is the foundation 
for his becoming rich and honored, as health is 
a condition preliminary to the enjoyment of 
prosperity. Compare accordingly the arrange- 
ment in 1 Kings iii. 11-14" (Hitzig). [An over- 
fanciful elaboration of the simple idea of the 
passage. — A.]. — AH her paths are (paths of) 

peace. W^^'j can be regarded 'as a genitive, in 
which case the construction is the same as in 
Ps. xlv. 6 (according to the interpretation which 
is probably correct), Ps. xxx. 7; Lev. vi. 3, etc.; 
comp. Gesenius, Grainm. § 121, 6; N.\egelsb.\ch, 
§64, g. ; — or as a nominative, "her paths are 
peace," i. e., peaceable, peaceful, instead of 
strife and alarm otfcring pure peace and joy (so 
nearly all recent commentators, with the e.\:cep- 
tiou of Umbreit and Elster, who seem with good 
reason to prefer the former view). A tree of life 
wisdom is called in ver. 18, as in chap. xi. 30 the 
"fruit of the righteous" is described by the same 
figurative expression, in xiii. 12 the fulfilment 
of an ardent desire, and finally, xv. 4, "temper- 
ateness of the tongue." Tlie expression doubt- 
less contains an allusion to the tree of life men- 
tioned by Moses in Gen. ii. 9; iii. 22, although 
there the definite article stands before D"'n, be- 
cause it was intended to designate the particu- 
lar tree bearing this name in Paradise. The 
°".nr' ]y. of Genesis and the D"n Ti' of 
Proverbs are therefore related to each other as 
the familiar 6 vibg tov avdpuTvov of the Gospels to 
the vlbg ardfx'.mov without the article in John 
V. 27. Elster, without reason, attempts to deny 
altogether the reference to Gen. ii. 9, and to 
make the expression parallel with other figura- 
tive representations, like "fountain of life," etc. 
In his observation that the figure of the tree in 
this passage is based upon the previous personi- 
fication of wisdom, and that Sol. Song, vii. 9 is 
therefore to be compared, Hitzig is certainly 
right (comp. also passages like Is. Ixi. 3 ; Jer. 
xvii. 8 ; Ps. i. 3 ; xcii. 12). We must, however, 

regard as less pertinent the other proposition of 
the same commentator, according to which the 
tree of life in our passage corresponds not only 
with the tree of the same name in Paradise, but 
at tlie same time also with the tree of knowledge 
(Gen. iii. 3), and so exhibits the identity of the 
two trees of Paradise. For as a thoroughly 
practical demeanor, consisting in the fear of 
God and obedience (see i. 7) the true wisdom of 
the Book of Proverbs unquestionably presents 
as complete a contrast to all assuming and 
"devilish" wisdom from beneath (James iii. 15) 
as the tree of life in Paradise to that of know- 
ledge. — And he Tvho holds her fast is 
blessed. See critical notes. See also below, 
notes on chap. xv. 22. 

3. Description of the wisdom of God that created 
the world, os the mighlji protector of him that fears 
God: vers. 19-26. — Jehovah hath with -wis- 
dom founded the earth, etc. A connection 
undoubtedly exists between this allusion to the 
divine archetype of all human wisdom and what 
has been before said, so far forth as the paradi- 
siacal tree of life of primitive time seems to have 
called to the mind of the author the creation of 
the world, and therefore afforded him occasion for 
the brief delineation of the creative wisdom of 
God that lies before us, of which the passage, 
cliap. viii. 22 sq., is only a fuller development 
(comp. also Job xxviii. 12 sq. ; Ecclesiast. 
xxiv. 2sq.). Yet if the connection were really 
as close as it is commonly regarded [e. g., by 
Bertheau, who finds in vers. 19, 20 the conclu- 
sion of the series of thoughts beginning in ver. 
11 ; by Elster, who discerns here " in a certain 
sense a metaphysical confirmation of the fore- 
going;" and in general also by Hitzig, etc.), the 
demonstrative conjunction '2 (for) would un- 
questionably stand at the beginning of the 19th 
verse; this, however, is wanting both in the 
original text and in the older versions, and was 
first introduced by Luther. Therefore as the 
words stand, with an emphatic prefixing of the 
subject "Jehovah" (as at the commencement of 
many Psalms, e. g., Ps. xxvii. ; xcvii. ; xcix., 
etc.), they are evidently designed not so much 
to serve as a continuation of representations 
already begun, as for the introduction of ideas 
essentially new, — and these new thoughts are the 
promises contained in vers. 21-26, of tlie divine 
protection and blessing, of which the wise man, 
/. e., he who acts and walks in accordance with 
this divine wisdom, will infallibly have the full 
enjoyment. Furthermore, comp., with reference 
to the idea of the conformity of the practical, 
ethical wisdom of man with the absolute creative 
wisdom of God, the "Doctrinal and Ethical'* 
notes. —With wisdom. r*10Dn3, literally 

T . T ; 

"through" wisdom, i. e., not merely with the 
manifestation of wisdom as an attribute of His, 
but by means of the personal, essential wi.sdom, 
as an independent, creative power indwelling in 
Him from eternity, comp. viii. 22 sq. In tb« 
same hypostatic sense, therefore, are also the 
interchangeable ideas of " understanding ' DJOH 
ver. 19 1. c, and "knowledge" n;n in ver. 20, 
to be understood. [With this view of the au- 
thor Bertheau agrees, so Trapp and some othera 
of the old English expositors : Scott, Holden 



suggest it as possible; while Stuart, Muen- 
SCHER and otliers, judging more correctly, we 
think, find here none of those personal attributes 
which are so conspicuous in chap. viii. and there 
BO clearly shape the interpretation — A.]. On 
ver. 19 comp. in addition Jer. x. 12, and on ver. 
20, Gen. i. tj sq.; ii. ti. — Did the seas divide. 
The perf. -IJ/'pni, " they have divided," refers to 
the primary creative act of the division once 
for all of the masses of water above and beneath 
tlie firmament. Gen. i. 6 sq., while the imperf., 
1DJ?T', relates to the constantly repeated and still 
continued emptying of the clouds in rain, as 
a consequence of that sundering of the waters 
which belongs to the history of creation. [The 
E. V. loses this distinction and refers both to the 
present, " are"]. 

Vers. 21, 22. My son, never suffer to de- 
part from thine eyes, etc. ^'y 7j; (for which, 
perhaps, in conformity with iv. 21 we ought to 

read ^iv") signifies literally, "there must not 

escape, slip aside" (from TO) deflexit, a via dn- 
cUnauit). As subjects for the plural verb we 
usually find supplied from the preceding, es- 
pecially from ver. 1 sq., the idea "my doc- 
trines, my commands," [as in the E. V. and 
the commentaries of Stuart, Muenscher and 
others]. But this is plainly quite too far-fetched. 
It is simpler, with Ujibreit, Hitzig, etc., to con- 
ceive of the following hemistich, "thoughtful- 
ness and circumspection," as at the same time 
subjects of the verb in the first, and to ex- 
plain their omission in the foi-mer clause to 
which they should properly have been attached, 
on the ground of the peculiar vivacity of the 
representation. This liveliness of expression 
can in some measure be preserved in our version 
by a "rather" after the verb of the second 
clause. — Maintain thoughtfulness and cir- 
cumspection. The more uncommon rT'tyj^ 
(comp. above ii. 7) stands here instead of n:ODri 
(wisdom) ver. 19, and also the less frequent 
7T3iO instead of njon which occurs there, in 

T- : T : 

order to suggest the difference between the abso- 
lute wisdom and insight of God and the corres- 
ponding attributes of man. The LXX instead 
of the present order appear to have found the 
reverse, as they translate BovAi/v nal ivvniav. 
Comp. IIeideniieim (as above cited). — So ■will 
they be life to thy soul, etc. In reply to 
Hitzig's disparagement of the genuineness of 
vers. 22-2(5, see remarks above, at the commence- 
ment of the exegesis. "With respect to the 
thought of ver. 22 f. c, comp. above vers. 2, K!, 
18; also iv. 22; viii. 35, etc. For last clause 
comp. i. 9 ; iii. 3. 
Ver. 23. Then wilt thou go thy way 

in safety. nU37, in security, free from care, 
full of trust and good confidence, as below in 
ver. 29. ["Thou shalt ever go under a double 
guard, the ' peace of God' within thee (Phil, 
iv. 7) and the 'power of God' without thee, 
(1 Pet. i. 5)." — Trapp. — For illustrations drawn 
from travellers' experience near Jerusalem, 
see Tho.mson's Lctnd and Booh, I., lO'J. — A ]. 

The simple n^3 is used in the same way in 
chap. X. 9. For ver. 23 1. c. compare Ps. xci. 
12, for the whole verse Prov. iv. 12. — Ver. 2-k 
When thou liest dow^n. The imperf. J^t^Jil 
in the first member probably designs to express 
the idea of "laying one's self down to rest," 
while the following perf. j^33E?1 would designate 
the effect and consequence of this act, the reclin- 
ing and sleeping. Thus most interpreters have 
correctly judged. Hitziq amends accoriling to 
the LXX : 2VJjy DN, if thou sittest, which is 
plainly needlessly arbitrary. For the tliought 
conip. furthermore chap. vi. 22; Dent, xxviii. 
G6. — Ver. 25. Thou ueedest not fear from 

sudden alarm. X1'P~7X literally fear thou 
not. Since however the IX in ver. 23 still has 
its effect, the expression is not to be taken merely 
as an admonition, but at the same time as a de- 
scription of the future condition (Ewald, Lehr- 
buch 310, a). [Bott. § 964, a, classes it with 
the "permissive negatives"]. — Nor from the 
destruction of the w^icked. D'^^iyT nNC? 
the old commentators unanimously regard as 
active; the onset of the wicked, the storm wliich 
they raise against the pious [procella qaam impi.i 
excitant, Chr. B. Michaelis). So recently Hit- 
zig, while nearly all other modern interpreters 
since Doderlein prefer the passive conception; 
the storm or destruction that will sweep away 
the wicked. A positive decision is probably 
not possible. Yet the parallel in Ps. xxxv. 8, 
seems to favor the latter view [which is adopted 
also by Stuart and Muenscher]. With refer- 
ence to the subject compare further, for clause 
a, Ps. xci. 5; Prov. i. 27; xxiv. 22; am! for b, 
.Job V. 21. — Ver. 26. For Jehovah will be 
thy confidence.: literally, will be in thy con- 
fidence. 7D3 is here unquestionably trust, con- 
fidence, as in .Job viii. 14; xxxi. 24; Ps. Ixxviii. 
7. The signification "loins, side," which the 
Vulgate has given to the expression {'■'Dominus 
crit in latere tuo ") and, in imitation of this, e. (^., 
Ziegler, Muentingiie, etc., agrees indeed with 
passages like Job xv. 27; Lev. iii. 4, 10; xv. 4, 
etc., but not with tlie one before us. — And keep 
thy foot from the snare. The substantire 

HD/, snare — for which more usually iJ'p1*3 or DD 
— occurs only here, is not, however, for that 
reason necessarily to be regarded, as Hitziq 
would have it, as a sign of a later phraseology. 

4. Admonition to benevolence and ju.<:tice : Vers. 
27-35. A connection of this exhortation with 
some more specific point in the foregoing (with 
ver. 21 or ver. 20, e. g., as Hitzig suggests, as- 
suming vers. 22-26 to be spurious) need not be 
attempted, since tiie whole of this brief section 
definitely enough distinguishes itself from the 
longer series of proverbial discourses, as an in- 
dependent and pecnliiir whole. — -Refuse not 
good to him that deserves it: literally, 
"hold not good back from its master," i. e., from 
him to wliotn it belongs ["either by the law of 
equity or of charity," Thapp, — "whether upon 
their deserving or upon their need," Br. Ham,], 
him who is at the same time deserving and n?edy 

CIIAl'. III. 1-35. 


(LXX : ev -rzomv kvdey). — Vcr. 28. And yet 
thou hast it : literally, and it is yet with thee 
on liiiiid, there is yet a store [there is with 
thee]. The LXX adds to this admonition (o 
ready giving and to quick relief (according to 
the principle: bis dat qui cito dat, " he gives twice 
who gives quickly"), the words appropriate in 
themselves, '■• ov yap olSa^ ri Tt^erai >'/ k-mvaa'" 
(for thou knowest not what the morrow shall 
bring forth), which, however, occur in their 
original place in chap, xxvii. 1. — Ver. 29. De- 
vise not evil. The verb I^lfl here as in vi. 

~ T 

14, 18; xii. 20; xiv. 22, expresses the idea of 
contriving, and that as a development of the 
idea of "forging" (Ez. xxi. 30) and not that of 
"ploughing" (as Ewalo, following some older 
interpreters, maintains). — Ver. 30. "Without 
cause, Heb. D^n, LXX, fid-T/v, comp. 6upedv 
in John xv. 25. AVhat is meant by this "con- 
tending without cause" is made more apparent in 
the 2d member. In regard to the ethical signifi- 
cance of this precept coinp. "Doctrinal and 
Ethical" notes. No. 3. — Ver. 31. Emulate not 
the man of violence. For this siguihcatiou 

of ^^^.P/^"^^, which is found as early as the Vul- 
gate [ne xmuleris hominem injustiim), the strongest 
support is the parallel thought in the 2d mem- 
ber ; while unquestionably in passages like Ps. 
xxxvii. 1 ; Ixxiii. 3 ; Prov. xxiv. 1, the expres- 
sion 3 Njp denotes rather a "falling into a pas- 
sion" about some one, a "being envious." Yet 
comp. Prov. xxiii. 17, where the meaning plainly 
resembles that before us. [The diiference among 
these expositors, we think, is more seeming than 
real. Thus Stuart renders, "Be not envious to- 
ward," etc., and explains " do not anxiously covet 
the booty which men of violence acquire;" Muen- 
SCHER renders, " Envy thou not the man," e/c, 
and explains. "Do not be ottended by the success 
and prosperity," etc., " so as to imitate," etc. — 
A.] — And choose none of his ways. For 
"innri the LXX (,«??d£ [,r]luari^) must have read 
innn, a reading which HiTZia is disposed to 
accept as the original. But how easily could 
this change be introduced, following as a standard 
Ps. xxxvii. 1, or Prov. xxiv. 19, where no doubt 
innn stands as the only appropriate reading! 

Vers. 32-35 supply a ground in the first instance 
for the counsels contained in vers. 27-31, but fur- 
ther in general for those of the whole chapter: 
thus ver. 35 in particular, by its contrasting the 
comprehensive terras "fool" and "wise," reveals 
a far reaching breadth and compass in its refer- 
ence, like the similar expressions at the close of 
the 1st and 2d chapters. — An abhorrence to 

Jehovah is the deceiver. — IHJ, properly the 
"perverse," he who is deceitfully crooked and se- 
cret (comp. ii. 15), and so is in direct contrast 
with the "upright" or straightforward. [n3>^1j"1, 
which in the E.V. is always translated by " abom- 
ination," or some cognate term, is often used in 
other sacred books of idolatry. In the twenty or 
more passages in the Book of Proverbs in which 
the word is found it has this signification in no 
single instance. "It would seem," says Words- 
worth, in loc, " as if, when Solomon wrote the 

Proverbs, he regarded idolatry as a thing impossi- 
ble. He therefore left out idolatry as the Greek 

Legislator omitted parricide from his code as a 

thing too monstrous to be contemplated. And yet 
Solomon himself afterwards fidl into idolatry " 
(Vc— A.].— "With the upright he maintains 
true friendship.— Literally, "with the upright 
is his secret compact" (ITID), his intimacy, his 
confidential intimacy. Comp. Job xxix. -1: Ps. 
XXV. 14.— Jehovah's curse dwells in the 

house of the wicked.— Comp. the nSx, the 
cursing whicu, accorUing to Zech. v. 4, will take 
posses-ion of the house ottlie wicked, and destroy 
it. (in accordance wiih Deut. xxviii. 17 sq.); and 
for the term n'^xp, Mai. ii. 2 (and Kouler ou 
both passages). 

Vcr. 34. If he scorneth the scorners. — To 
this hypothetical prota^^is the apodosis is not 
found in ver. 35, as Bertiieau [and Sttart] 
bold, but immediately after, in the second clause 
of ver. 34. As in Job viii. 20 ; Lam. iii. 82, 
there is an artjumcnlum a contrario. Comp. our 
mode of constructing propositions, with "while 
on the one hand — so on the other." For the 
sentiment of the 1st member, comp. Ps. xviii. 26; 
for that of the whole verse the passages in the 
N. T. which cite freely from the LXX, 1 Pet. v. 
5 ; James iv. 6, and also above, i. 26 sq. — Ver. 

35. Shame sweeps fools away.— j'ibp Dnp 
literally " shame lifts up," i. c, in order to sweep 
away and destroy them : Comp. Ez. xxi. 31; Is. Ivii. 
14, and the corresponding use of Nt^J, tollcre^= 
aitferre ; Is. xli. 10 ; Job xxvii. 21. The expres- 
sion p'?!^, ignoviinia, properly levitas (lightness), 
at once reminds us directly of the familiar figure 
of chaif whirled away by the wind (Ps. i. 4 ; Is. 
xvii. 3 ; xxix. 5, etc.). Therefore we need' not 

take Dnp as the predicate of D'V?^ (fools) and 
translate it by svscipimit in the sense of " gather 
up," "carry away," as IIitzig does, following 
the LXX, Targ., Vatabl., and Rosenmieller 
[so NoYES, Muenscher, Wordsw., while De 
Wette, Stuart, etc., agree with cur author — A.]; 
although the distributive use of the participle in 
the singular instead of the plural, would have a 
sufficient parallel in the passage already ex- 
plained, chap. iii. 18 6. 


1. ^^Wisdom is life and gives life." This propo- 
sition, which finds its most pregnant utterance 
in ver. 18, and is formulated as a sort of Epitome 
of the whole chapter, is especially in the first 
admonitory discourse (vers. 1-18) expressed in 
manifold ways and exhibited in its bearing upon 
the most diverse relations, those of the present 
life first. Above all it is long life, to wliich 
Avalking in true wisdom aids (ver. iii. 10), and 
this for this reason, — because such a course is 
the indispensable condition of physical as well as 
spiritual health, — or because, as ver. 8 expresses 
it, " the wise findeth health for his body and re- 
freshing for his frame." He who is truly wise 
aims infallibly at the needful temperance, and a 
prudent self-restraint in his physical and mental 



regimen, and thereby promotes health, his in- 
■vvui-il and outward well-being in the pos- 
sible deu;ree. Ho contributes by his (;bedient 
subjection to the Divine grace, to the emancipa- 
tion ol' his nob. est spiritual powers and capaci- 
ties, — secures these as well as the functions of 
his bodily organ iz-ati-^n against morbid excite- 
ment or torpidity, and so d--:velops generally his 
entire personal life, body, mind and spirit, to its 
normal harmony, and the mo:t vigorous mani- 
festation possible of its diverse and cardinal ac- 
tivities. He who has in this way become in- 
wardly free through the fear of God and real 
■wisdom iu life, attains necessarily also to the 
confirmation of this his godlike freedom and vital 
power in connection with the phenomena of the 
outward natural life, as surely as the laws of the 
economy of nature <are the same as those of the 
ethical sphere in the kingdom of God. He who 
is inwardly free becomes also naturally free. To 
him who has attained true mastery over himself 
there is soon restored dominion over the outward 
creation, — that heritage of the true children of 
God from Paradise, — at least in its essentials. 
And so outward prosperity is added in his ex- 
perience to inward peace; God "smooths his 
paths" (ver. 6); fills his garners and cellars 
with abundance (ver. 10), m.akes him great 
through riches and honor (ver. 16), and guides 
him during this whole life in ways of delight, 
peace, and prosperity (ver. 17 ; corap. vers. 2 and 
18). A tiling, however, that rises far above all 
these external blessings, above gold, silver and 
all the treasures of the earth (see vers. 14 and 
15), is the grace and favor which the wise man 
finds not only with men, but much more witli 
God (ver. 4). This favor of God and of men, — 
i. e., not of all indiscriminately, but first and 
pre-eminently of the wise and devout, such as 
agree with God's judgment, is evidently in the 
view of the poet the highest and most precious 
of the multiform blessings of wisdom which he 
enumerates. What, however, is this "favor with 
God and men," the inseparable attendant and 
consequence of genuine wisdom (1 Sam. ii. 26; 
Luke ii. 52), what is this but the being a true 
child of God, the belonging to the fellowship of 
God and His people, the co-citizenship in the 
kingdom of truth and of blessedness ? — \Ve stand 
here manifestly at the point at which the eudaj- 
nionism of the author, in itself comparatively ex- 
ternal and inclining to that which is partial and 
sensuous, joins hands with the true doctrine of 
Christianity, — where, therefore, the Old Testa- 
ment doctrine of retributions predominantly 
earthly begins to be transformed into the super- 
sensual or spiritual realistic doctrine of the New 
Testament (Mattli. v. 10-12; xix. 28-30). For 
if to be a child of God ami to stand in relations 
of grace appears as the chief value and most pre- 
cious reward of wisdom, the goal of prosperity 
at which the lovers of this wisdom aim is far 
more a heavenly than an eartiily one; and fel- 
lowship with God, obedient, loving dependence 
on Him, is then not merely the end, but at the 
same time the principle and motive for all the 
thought, effort and action of the wise. As a way 
to tlie attainment of this end no other whatsoever 
can come under consideration but that opened 
and pointed out by God himself — that is, the way 

of faith in the revelation of His grace. Believing 
self-devotion to the salvation which God bestows, 
which in the Old Testament is still essentially 
placed in the future, but in Christ as the Media- 
tor of the New Testament, has become real and 
present, is there as well as here the condition of 
the attainment of wisdom, of progressive growth 
and strength iu its possession, and finally of the 
enjoyment of the blessed reward. That our poet 
also walks in this path, that he is a representa- 
tive of the '■'■fides Veteris Teitamenii," that he be- 
longs to that host of witnesses, exemplars of faith 
under the Old Testament, which is brought be- 
fore us in Hebrews xi.; this is incontrovertibly 
established by the way in which he speaks of the 
conditions of attaining to the blessed rewaid of 
wisdom, or of the practical demeanor of the wise 
man in its details. There we hear rothing of 
outward works of the law, of meritorious ser- 
vices, of the fulfilling of God's will with one's 
own strength or reason; but "trust in the Lord 
with all thine heart " is enjoined in emphatic 
contrast with "leaning upon one's own pru- 
dence " (ver. 5) ; the being " wise in one's own 
eyes " is put in significant contrast with the fear 
of God and the avoiding of all evil (ver. 7) ; yes, 
willing submission to God's salutary correction, 
humble and grateful subjection even to the strict 
disciplinary regulations wliich His fatherly love 
finds it good to employ; this constitutes the su]3- 
stance of the dispositions and modes of action 
which are here prescribed (vers. 11, 12; comp. 
Heb. xii. 5 sq.). With good reason did Me- 
LAKCHTHON dircct attention to the genuinely 
evangelical, and even profoundly Christian cha- 
racter of this admonition to the patient endu- 
rance of sufferings as wholesome disciplinary 
ordinances of God. He remarks on vers. 11, 12: 
" Here the whole doctrine of the cross is to be 
brought into view, and the distinction considered 
between Philosophy and the Gospel. Philosophy 
and human reason judge otherwise of the causes 
of death and of human calamities than does the 
voice of the Gospel Christian and philo- 
sophic patience must also be distinguished." 
And further, on ver. 13 sq.: " These praises of 
wisdom are rightly understood of revealed wis- 
dom, i. c, of the word of God manifested in the 
Church, of the Decalogue and the Gospel. Nor 
yet is it strange that antiquity applied these 
praises to the person who is the Son of God, who 
is the revealer of the word resounding in the 
Church, and is efficient by this word, and in it 
shows forth what God is, and what is His will." 
How far, furthermore, the point of view of our 
teacher of wisdom is removed from all possible 
Antinomian disparagements of positive moral re- 
quirements, how clearly, on the other hand, the 
wisdom that he teaches appears to be regulated 
by both factors of Diviue revelation, law and 
gospel, shows itself from the emphatic promi- 
nence given to "love and trutii " (rip.i<!. "lOn 
ver. 3 ; comp. the previous analysis of these two 
ideas on p. 01) as the chief manifestations of a 
spirit that fears God, and of a scrupulously du- 
tiful course in intercourse with one's neighbor. 
Love is, therefore, according to him, also, the 
fulfilling of the law (Rom. xiii. 10; GaL v. 14), 
and indeed to such a degree that, according to 
his conception, the compliance with special pre- 

CHAP. III. 1-35. 


Bcriptions of the positive exturnil ceremonial 
law, e. ff., the ordinances which relate to tlie 
bringing of the oiiEerings of first fruits (see above 
on ver. 9), must be to it an easy thing. With 
the proposition of Bruch, that our author found 
himself in a sort of free-thinlving opposition to 
the positive prescriptions of the Mosaic ceremo- 
nial law (coinp. Introd., ^ la, note), this admoni- 
tion to a conscientious devotion of the first fruits 
to Jehovah, plainly cannot be reconciled. 

2. As wisdom alone ensures true joy in life and 
abiding prosperity, it also shows itself man's 
most reliable protection (vers 19-26), his de- 
fender and guardian in all the inward tempta- 
tions as well as the outward dangers of this 
earthly life. And this essentially for this reason, 
because it consists in trusting devotion to the 
eternal and absolute wisdom of God, wliich most 
richly and gloriously manifests its exhaustless 
power, and its compassionate love and faithful- 
ness, as formerly in the creation of the world, 
now also in its preservation and government. 
For he wlio loves wisdom is also loved by her ; 
and he who by walking in faith, love, and the 
fear of God, confesses himself here below a friend 
of the Divine word, — in liis behalf does the 
eternal AVord malie confession above before the 
throne of the Heavenly Father. — For further 
reinarlcs upon tlie relation to the Logos or the 
Son of God, of the Divine wisdom, which is here 
in vers. 19-20, for the first turn, hypostatically 
presented in its quality as tlie power that created 
the world, see below on chap. viii. 22 sq. (Doc- 
trinal and Ethical comments). [As will be seen 
from the E.xegetical notes on ver. 19, the best 
modern exegesis is not unanimous in applying 
this passage, like chap, viii., to the hypostatic 
wisdom. Our author's remarks, therefore, ho\v- 
ever just in themselves, may bo regarded as hero 
out of place, so far forth as they involve the per- 
sonality of wisdom — A.] 

3. The conditions for the attainment of true 
■wisdom and its blessing, which are again empha- 
sized in the concluding verses (27-35), are com- 
prehended in the single requirement of love to 
one's neighbor as the fulfilling of the Divine law. 
As special manifestations of this love of our 
neighbor, we have made prominent, charitable- 
ness and constant readiness to give (27, 28), 
sincerity and an unfeigned frankness of dispo- 
sition (29), peaceableness and ijlacability (30), 
gentleness and abstinence from all violence (31), 
straiglitforward, honorable and upright deport- 
ment in one's general transactions (32, 33), hu- 
mility and the avoidance of all arrogant, frivo- 
lous and scornful demeanor (34). — These ad- 
monitions do not rise to the full moral elevation 
of the New Testament's requisitions of love. 
Thus there is noticeably wanting here the de- 
mand of love to enemies, although not in chap. 
XXV. 21, and instead of this there is, it is true, 
no hatred of one's enemy recommended (as in 
the casuistic ethics of the later Pharisaic Juda- 
ism, according to Matth. v. 43), but yet a re- 
striction of all dispute and controversy to one's 
relations with an actual offender; see ver. 30. 
The specification of duties to one's neighbor that 
is here presented is therefore related to one 
truly Cbrislian, very much as the moral precepts 
which, according to Luke iii. 10-14, John the 

Baptist gave to the multitude that followed him, 
if compared with tiiat fulfilment of the law pre- 
sented by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount as 
the standard for the conduct of the children of 
God under the New Testament (Matth. v. 20-48). 
Let us observe also the fact, M'hich is certainly 
not accidental, that all the moral precepts in our 
passage are given in the form of negative impe- 
ratives or warnings, while, e.c/., in the Sermon 
on the Mount, in the concluding and admonitory 
chapters of Paul's Epistles, and in general in 
most of the counsels of the New Testament, the 
positively admonitory and preceptive tone has a 
decided preponderance over the prohibitory. 


Ilomily on the entire chapter, starting with 
the central thought in ver. 18 : True wisdom as 
a tree of life, — considered 1) in the precious 
fruits which it bestows upon us (1-18) ; — 2) in 
the solid ground in which it is rooted (19-2G); — 
3) in the cultivation which we must bestow upon 
it by a loving and faithful integrity (27-3o). — 
Comp. M. Geier's analysis of the chapter, which, 
treating the four introductory verses as an ex- 
ordium for the whole, finds prescribed in it three 
main classes of duties: 1) to God (5-26); — 2) to 
our neighbor (27-30); — 3) to ourselves (31-35). — 
So St.\rke : Solomon's exhortation to the mani- 
festation of that piety which flows from true wis- 
dom, viz.: 1) of piety in itself (1-12); — 2) of 
wisdom as its celestial source (13-26) ; — 3) of love 
to our neiglibors as its chief earthly fruit and 
result (27-35). 

Vers. 1-12. Melanciithon (on vers. 5-12, 
after treating the first four verses as an Intro- 
duction) : Three precepts of divine wisdom; 1) 
Trust in God and fear of God (5-8) ; — 2) the sup- 
port of the ministry of the word by offerings and 
gifts (9, 10) ; — 3) patience under crosses and suf- 
ferings (11, 12, comp. above, p. Go). — Geier 
(on 5-18) : Six cardinal duties to God: 1) confi- 
dence, — 2) reverence, — 3) humility, — 4) honor, 
— 5) patience, — 6) zeal for wisdom. — St.\rke : 
An exhortation to true piety; and 1) a prelimi- 
nary encouragement to attention (1-4) ; — 2) the 
direct admonition to the manifestation of true 
piety, a) in confidence in God (5), — b) in a living 
knowledge of God (C), — c) in the fear of the Lord 
with a renouncing of one's own wisdom (7, 8), — 
d) in the right payment of all gifts that are due 
(9, 10), — e) in the patient bearing of the cross 
(11, 12). — Calwer Handb. : The multiform bless- 
ings of a multiform wisdom; vers. 1, 2: long 
life, prosperity and peace; — 3, 4: favor with 
God and men ; — 5, 6 : a rigtit guidance ; — 7, 8 : 
even physical well-being; — 9, 10: full garners 
and presses; — 11, 12: grace from God also in 
trials and sufferings. 

On vers. 1-4. Egard: See to it that on the 
tablet of thine heart nothing be found but the 
word of God and Jesus Christ. According to 
what is written on the tablet of thine heart, (2 
Cor. iii. 3) will endless pain or eternal joy await 
Ihee, Matth. x. 32, 33.— On vers. 5-8. Hasius : 
It is a characteristic of true wisdom that one re- 
gards himself as simple; men who are wise in 
tlicir own eyes are far removed from true wis- 
dom. — Zeltner : Where true fear of God exists, 



there is also true humility of soul, and renun- 
ciation of self. Ecclesiasl. i. 17, 18, etc. — [Ver. 
5. Trapp: They trust not, God at all that do it 
not alone. — Arnot: Trust is natural to the crea- 
ture, though trust in the Lord be against the 
grain to the guilty. God complains as much of 
a divided allegiance as of none. In cleaving to 
Christ the effort, to reserve alittle spoils all. The 
command to "trust" is encouraging as well as re- 
proving. The genuine spirit of adoption may be 
best observed in little things. — R. M. M'CheYxXe: 
Every enligiitened believer trusts in a divine 
power enlightening the understanding ; he there- 
fore follows the dictates of the understanding 
more religiously than any other man. — Vers. 8. 
Abnot : He who makes holiness happy in heaven, 
makes holiness healthful on earth.] — On vei's. 9, 
10. Starke : We should above all things seek 
the kingdom of God, and share our means with 
those who labor in the word, and the extension 
of God's kingdom; but not hold our goods for 
gain in order so to avoid God's service. It is 
unbelief if one accounts that lost which he vo- 
luntarily devotes to churches and schools, and to 
the maintenance of the ministry of the word. 
Matth. X. 42 ; 2 Cor. ix. 6 ; Gal. vi. 6, etc.— 
Zeltner: Thankfulness opens the fountain of 
the divine blessing, unthankfulness closes it. — 
Stocker : Liberality toward the clerical office, 
considered 1 ) in and by itself,* — 2) according to 
the manner of its exercise, — 3) in its reward. — 
[W. Bates : Charity is a productive grace, that 
enriches the giver more than the receiver. The 
Lord signs Himself our debtor for what is laid 
out for Him, and He will pay it with interest]. — 
On vers. 11, 12. Egard: God's strokes are better 
than Satan's kiss and love ; God smites for life, 
Satan caresses for death. — .1. Lance : The king- 
dom of God in this world is a kingdom of the 
cross; but all suffering tends evermore to the 
testing and confirmation of faith. 1 Pet. i. 6, 7. 
— Badeb. Bible: God's chastenings and cor- 
rections are no signs of anger, but of love ; they 
are the pains which our healing and cure de- 
mand. Those who lie under the cross are often 
iQore acceptable to God, than those who taste and 
experience His dainties. He finds pleasure in 
our crosses and sufferings for this reason, be- 
cause these are His remembrance and renewal 
of the sufferings of His Son. His honor is also 
involved in such a perpetuation of the cross in 
His members (Eph. iii. 13 ; Col. i. 24, etc.) audit 
is this that causes Him this peculiar joy ! 

[Vers. 11, 12. Arnot: Let your heart flow 
down under trouble, for this is human ; let it 
rise up also to God, for this is divine. — Trapp : 
He that escapes alfliction may well suspect his 
adoption. God's house of correction is His school 
of instruction.] 

Vers. 13-18. Egart>: Silver, gold and pearls, 
serve and adorn the body only, wisdom, how- 
ever, serves and adorns mainly the soul. As 
much as the soul is nobler than the body, so much 
is wisdom also nobler thiin all treasures. Be- 
ware lest thou with the cliildren of this world 
look with delight upon the forbidden tree, and 
with them cat death from it. Beware lest 
thou choose folly instead of wisdom! — STiicKER: 
Whosoever desires to regain what our first pa- 
rents squandered and lost by the fall, namely, 

eternal life — let him hold fast upon heavenly 
wisdom — i. e., God's revealed word. This is a 
tree of life to all those who in true faith lay hold 
upon it. — Berleb. Bible : Solomon here testi- 
fies that wisdom even in Paradise nourished and 
supported men, and that the same is for this rea- 
son also in the restoration (the restitution of all 
things by Christ, Acts iii. 21) ordained for their 
spiritual maintenance. In this originates that 
most blessed condition of the new man, who gra- 
dually becomes again like and equal to the man of 
Paradise. — Wohlfarth: The tree of life of which 
we are to eat day by day is faith, love, hope. 
Faith is its trunk, hope its flowers, love its fruit, 

[Vers. 16, 17. Arnot : — If the law were ac- 
cording to a simple calculation in arithmetic, 
"the holiest liver, the longest liver," and con- 
versely, "the more wicked the life the earlier its 
close;" if this, unmixed, unmodified, were the 
law, the moral government of God would be 
greatly impeded, if not altogether subverted. He 
will have men to choose goodness for His sake 
and its own ; therefore a slig'ut veil is cast over 
its present profitableness. — South (ver. 17) : 
The excellency of the pleasure found in wisdom's 
ways appears 1) in that it is the pleasure of the 
mind ; — 2) that it never satiates nor wearies: — 3) 
that it is in nobody's power, but only in his that 
has it.] 

Vers. 19-26. Stocker: — Inasmuch as wisdom 
is so grand a thing that all was made and is still 
preserved by it, we are thence to infer that we 
also can be by it preserved for blessedness. We 
should hold dear the heavenly wisdom revealed 
to us in the word, and earnestly crave it, should 
learn to keep our eye upon God Himself, should 
entreat Him for all that we need, depend upon 
His omnipotence and faithful care, despond un- 
der no adversities, etc., etc. — [Bridges: (Ver. 
23) Habitual eyeing of the word keeps the feet 
in a slippery path]. — Starke : He who orders 
his ways to please the Lord, can in turn depend 
upon His gracious oversight and protection. — Our 
unrest and fear spring mainly from an evil con- 
science ; divine wisdom however keeps the con- 
science from heavy sins, and stays the heart on 
God. — Von Gerlach : The wisdom which God 
imparts to the man who hearkens for His voice is 
no other than that by which He founded the 
earth; the holy order, which forms, keeps, sup- 
ports, holds together, develops into life, advances 
all. As now all that God has made is very good, 
each thing according to the law of the divine or- 
der that dwells in it, so in and for man all be- 
comes good that conforms to this order. — Wohl- 
farth (on ver. 21-2(j) : The holy rest of the pi- 
ous. Little as the heart's innocence, this fairest 
fruit of wisdom, can preserve and wholly free ua 
from the sufferings which God suspends over us 
for our refining, so surely however does it turn 
away the worst and saddest consequences of sin, 
and ensures even amidst the storms of this life a 
rest that nothing can disturb. — [Ver. 26. Arnot: 
It is the peace of God in the heart that has power 
to keep the feet out of evil in the path of life.] — 
Ver. 27-35. Stocker : The virtues of beneficence 
and patience are here developed after the method 
of the second table of the ten commandments; it 
is therefore taught how the believing Christian 
is in his relations to his neighbor to exercise 

CHAP. IV. 1-27. 


himself in true charity, steadfast patience and 
forbearance. — Ckamer (in Starke) : When God 
riclily bestows upon us spiritual treasures, ouglit 
it to be a great matter, if we to honor Him give 
alms from our temporal goods? — (On ver. 32 sq.); 
If an ungodly man rises in prosperity, look not 
upon liis prosperity, but upon his end; that can 
easily deter you from imitating hira. — Woiil- 
FARTH (on vers. 27, 28) : Thankfulness toward 
God requires beneficence toward one's brethren. 
— Von Gerlach: Divine wisdom teaches the 
true commuuism, — makes all things common. 

According to true love earthly goods belong to 
"their lord" (ver. 27) i. e, to hiiu who needs 
them. — -[Ver. 27. Arxot: The poor have not a 
right which they can plead and enforce at a hu- 
man tribunal. The acknowledgment of such a 
right would tend to anarchy. The poor are 
placed in the power of the rich, and the rich are 
under law to God. — Ver. 33. Ar.not : In addi- 
fioa to the weight of divine authority upon the 
conscience, all the force of nature's instincts is 
applied to drive it home. — Ver. 34. Trapp : Hu- 
mility is both a grace and a vessel to receive grace. ] 

Second Group of Admonitory or Gnomic Discourses. 

Chap. IV. 1— VII. 27. 

7. Report of the teacher of wisdom concerning the good counsels in favor of piety, and the warn- 
ings against vice, which were given him in his youth by his father. 

Chap. IV. 1-27. 

1 Hearken, ye children, to a father's instruction, 
and attend to know understanding : 

2 for I give you good doctrine ; 
forsake not my law. 

3 For I was also a son to my father ; 

a tender and only (son) for my mother ; 

4 and he taught me and said to me : 

" Let thine heart hold fast my words ; 

keep my commandments and thou shalt live ! 

5 Get wisdom, get understanding; 

forget not, turn not from the words of my mouth ! 

6 Forsake her not and she shall preserve thee ; 
love her and she shall keep thee. 

7 The highest thing is wisdom ; get wisdom, 

and with all that thou hast gotten get understanding ! 

8 Esteem her and she will exalt thee, 

will bring thee honor if thou dost embrace her. 

9 She will put upon thine head a graceful garland, 
a glorious crown will she bestow upon thee. 

10 Hearken, my son, aiid receive my sayings ; 
and the years of thy life shall be many. 

11 In the way of wisdom have I taught thee, 
I have guided thee in right paths. 

12 AVhea thou goest thy step shall not be straitened, 
and when thou runnest thou shalt not stumble. 

13 Hold fast upon instruction ; let not go ; 
keep her, for she is thy life. 

14 Into the path of the wicked enter thou not, 
and walk not in the way of the evil. 

15 Avoid it, enter not upon it ; 
turn from it, and pass away. 

16 For they sleep not unless they sin ; 

their sleep is taken away unless they have caused (others) to fall ; 


17 for they eat the bread of wickedness, 
and the wuie of violence do they drink. 

18 But the path of the just is like the light of dawn, 
that groweth in brightness till the perfect day. 

19 The way of the wicked is as darkness, 
they know not at Avhat they stumble. 

20 My son, attend to my words, 
incline thine ear to my sayings. 

21 Let them not depart from thine eyes : 
keep them in the midst of thine heart. 

22 For they are life to tliose who find them, 
and to their whole body health, 

23 Above all that is to be guarded keep thy heart, 
for out of it flow the currents of life. 

24 Put away from thee perverseness of mouth, 
and waywardness of lips put far from thee. 

25 Thine eyes should look straight forward, 
and thine eyelids look straight before thee. 

26 Make straight the path of tiiy foot 
and let all thy ways be established. 

27 Turn not to tlae right or to the left, 
remove thy foot from evil !" 


Ver. 2. ['nr\J> B,n " affirmative " perfect (Bott. g 947, /.), anticipating a sure result, and so confirming confidence ; not 
• -r 
merely have I already given, etc.; it will always be found true. See like instances in ver. 11. — A.]. 

Ver. 10. [A masculine verb agreeing with a fern, subject, the more readily because the verb precedes. The same thing 
recurs in ver. 25; in V. 2; vii. 11; x. 21, 32; xv. 7: xvi. 3; xviii. 6. — A.] 

Ver. 13. The fern, suffix in n"1if J refers strictly to nODH [TD-IO being masculine], which idea, on account of its 
T V : • T : T T 

close relationship, could be easily substituted for ID^O (comp. i. 3; xv. 33), and all the more readily because this idea was 


constantly before the poet's mind as the main subject of his discourse. Like anomalies in the gender of suffixes may be 
found, c. g.. in Isa. iii. 16, Judg. xxi. 21. [To empJiasize the injunction tlie form of the verb m i-.xpMink'd from tlie simple 
nnV J by doubling the middle radical by Dagesh forte dirimens, and by attaching the suffix in its fullest form. See Bon. 

§ 500, 12; g? 1042, 6, 1043, 6.— A.]. 

Ver. 14. [FuERST takes "ItJ^xn in its more common causative and therefore transitive sense, supplying as its object 
?T3 7 ; he reaches, however, the same result. The third declarative use of the Piel we have not found given here by any 
modern commentator. — A.]. 

Ver. 16. [For the form given in the K'thibh ^S-liyD', see Greex, § SS, Bott. § 36", /3.— A.]. 

Ver. 20. [The paragogic Imperative usually and naturally takes its place at the beginning of the clause; n^'C'pn 

T • I; - 

here, and in ver. 1 follows its object as well as the vocative 'J3. Bott. § 960, c. — A.]. 

Ver. 21. iirv' fut. Iliphil from P7 with a doubling of the first radical, as in ^Jw' from "X"), [Verb '\^ treated like 
a verb _j?j;,— Green, § 160, 1 ; Bott., § 1147, B. 3.— A.]. 

Ver. 25. [Holden makes HD J 7 an object and not an adverbial modifier — " behold that which is right." This can 
hardly be reconciled with the strict meaning of HDJ. For the peculiar •ITt;?'''', in which the first radical retains fully its 
consonant character, resisting quiescence, see Stuart, § 69, 2; Green, g 150, 1; Bott., § 458, a, ^ 498, 12. — A.] 


1. The address to the sons, i. e., the pupils or 
hearers of the teacher of wisdom, in tlie plural 
number, appearing for the first time in ver. 1, 
and then recurring twice afterward, in v. 7 and 
vii. 24 (as well as in one later instance, in the 
discourse of the personified Wisdom, chap. viii. 
32) announces the beginning of a new and larger 
series of proverbial discourses. This extends to 
the end of chap, vii., and is characterized by a 
preponderance of warning, and also by the clear 

of positive appeals to strive after wisdom and 
the fear of God. A starting point for these 
admonitory discourses is furnished by the com- 
munication made in the preceding chapter, con- 
cerning the good instructions which the author 
as a child had had urged upon his notice by his 
father. The negative or admonitory import of 
these teachings of the father is now more fully 
developed in the discourses, some longer, some 
shorter, of the next three chapters. And among 
these special prominence is given to sins against 
chastity, which had not, it is true, been expressly 
named by the father, but still must now come 

and minute delineation of the by-paths of folly ; under consideration as involving dangers espe- 
and vice which are to be avoided, that now 1 cially seductive and ruinous for the son, as he 
takes the place of the tone, hitherto predominant, | grew up from boyhood to youth. To these the^e- 

CHAP. lY. 1-27. 


fore the poet reverts no less than three times in 
the course of the admonitions which he attaches 
to his account of the precepts of his father as 
given in chap. iv. (viz., v. 3 sq. ; vi. 124 sq. ; 
vii. 5 sq ). And in each instance the transition 
is made in a peculiarly natural way, and with a 
fiir more complete delineation of the repulsive 
details than had been earlier given on a similar 
occasion (chap. iii. 16-19). Of the older expositors 
e.g., Egvro, J. L.\ngb, St.vkke, and of the more 
recant Elster are in favor of extending the 
fatlier's admonition from ver. 4 to the end of this 
chapter. In favor of these limits m.iy be ad- 
duced especially the fact that vers. 26, 27 form 
a peculiarly appropriate conclusion for the 
father's discourse, — far more so not only than 
ver. 9 (with which Jerome, Bede, Lavater, the 
Wdrtemberg Bible, and most commentators of 
modern times, e. g., Ewald, Bertiieau, HtTztu, 
[Mue.n'scher, Kamph.] would close the discourse) 
but also than ver. 20, (to which point e. g., U.m- 
BREiT would extend it). Against those who 
■would regard chap. v. 1-6 as also belonging to 
the father's address (Hansen, Delitzscu) yve 
have the substance of these verses, wliich, at 
least from ver. 3 onward, seem no longer appro- 
priate to an admonition addressed to a boy still 
"tender" (see iv. 3); we have besides the still 
more weighty fact that chap. v. forms an indivi- 
sible whole, from which the first six vei-sos can 
plainly not be separated, ou account of the re- 
ference to them contained in ver. 8. It is fur- 
thermore by no means necessary that the address 
"ye sons" (v. 7) should stand at the very com- 
mencement of the discourse where the poet 
resumes it. In reply to Hitzig who, for the 
sake of restoring a symmetrical relation of 
numbers, in the present chapter once more pro- 
nounces certain verses spurious (vers. 16, 17 
and 27), see the special remarks on these verses. 
2. Ver. 1-8. Hearken, ye children. It 
seems quite certain that this address, occurring 
only here and in chap. v. 7 and chap. vii. 24, is 
occasioned by the fact, that the author designed 
to represent himself in and after ver. 4 as him- 
self a son and the object of his father's counsels 
and warnings. The aim was to present the ex- 
ample of the one son plainly before the many 
sons ; for this is the relation in which the teacher 
of wisdom conceives of his hearers or readers. 
For this reason again he does not say, " mg 
sons," but "ye sons, ye children," here as well 
as in chap. v. 7. — To a father's correction, 
i. e., to the instruction of a man who is your 
spiritual father ; not to the instruction of your 
several fathers. For, just as in chap. i. 8, the 
author does not intend in the first line to 
exhort to obedience to parents, but simply 
to obedience in general. — To learn under- 
standing. The nr3 •n^'3^ here corresponds 
with TTDDn Dj,^'p in the superscription, chap. 
i. 2, and is therefore to be similarly understood. 
HiTZUi's idea " to know with the undcrstcndiiig" 
is evidently needlessly artificial. — Ver. 2. For 

good doctrine, etc. np7, something received, 
handed over (see on i. 5) ; the author here de- 
scribes his doctrine in this way because he him- 
self received the substance of it from his father. 

The LXX here translate the word outright by 
Supov ( Vulg. donwn). — Ver. 3. For I also ■was a 
son to my father, i. e., "I also once stood in 
the relation to my (actual) fat'ier, in which you 
stand to mc. your paternal instructor," (Ber- 
tiieau). [Muensch. less forcibly nmkes 3 
temporal: when I was, etc.'\ — A tender and 
only (son) to my mother, strictly, before 
my mother, in her sight; comp. {jn;\\. xvii. 18. 
The mention of the mother is probably occa- 
sioned here, as in i. 8, by the poetic parallelism; 
for in what follows it does not occur again. — 
Tender, ^"1, not equivalent, as sometimes, to 
"susceptible of impressions, tractable," as the 
LXX conceive in translating it hy v-ijKonr ; but 
the expression, in connection with Tn\ "an 

• T 

only one " (comp. Gen. xxii. 2). indicates that the 
child has been to his parents an object of tender 
care; comp. Gen. xxxiii. 13, where Jacob speaks 
of tiie tenderness of his children. Furthermore 
the LXX, doubtless in remembrance of the fact 
that Solomon, according to 1 Chron. iii. 5, was 
not the only son of his mother, renders Tn'' by 
aya-umvog (beloved). That several ancient 
manuscripts and versions have substituted for 

"'iSX "'Jip?' '"3>t 'JS/' ^'^s ^'^^^^ of my mother, 
doubtless rests upon the same consideration. 
The earlier exegesis in general thought far too 
definitely of Solomon as the only speaking sub- 
ject in the whole collection of proverbs, and 
therefore imagined itself obliged in every allu- 
sion to a "father" or a "mother" of the poet, 
to think specifically of David and Bathsheba. 
This is also the explanation of the fact that 
the LXX in the verse following exchanged 
the singular, "he taught me and said," for a 
plural (ot tAi-yov Kal i6i6aaic6p /is), and accordingly 
represented all that follows as instruction pro- 
ceeding from both parents. 

3. Vers. 4-9. Let thine heart hold fast 
my ■words. The father's instruction begins 
quite in the same style as all the other admoni- 
tions in this first main division of the Book of 
Proverbs. At the end of ver. 4 the Syrian Ver- 
sion adds the words "and my law as the apple of 
thine eye," which i-s, however, plainly a supple- 
mentary gloss from chap. vii. 2, in which passage 
also the expression occurs, "keep my command- 
ments and thou shalt live." Bertheau regards 
the addition as original here also, in order thus 
to do away with the peculiarity of three mem- 
bers in ver. 4 (which is surrounded by nothing 
but distichs), and to make of the three clauses 
four. But the triple t;!:ructure owes its origin 
simply to the fact that the first member, as an 
introductory formula for the following discourse, 
must necessarily be made to stand outside the 
series of clauses which are otherwise always 
arranged in pairs. — Ver. 5. Get wisdom, get 
understanding, literally, " bug wisdom, bug 
understanding." The doubling of tlie verb 
makes the demand more vehement ; as U.^mbreit 
explains it, an "imitation of the exclamatioa 
lit' a merchant who is offering his wares." — • 
Forget not, turn not from the w^ords of 
my mouth. Tlie zeugma .appears only in the 
translation, not in the original, since the verb 


r\D'iy elsewhere, e. r/., Ps. cii. 5, is found con- 
strued with p. In the idea of forgetting there 
is naturally involved a turning aside or away 
from the object.— Ver. 7. The highest thing 
is wisdom. This is tlie interpretation to be 
here given, witli Hitzig (following Mercer, De 
DiEU and some older expositors), to the expression 
noDn n^nX"]. Itisusuallyrendered" The begin- 
ning of wisdom," [c.^. by theLXX,Vulg., Luther] 
and the following clauses, " get wisdom, e!c." 
are taken as the designation of that in which the 
beginning of wisdom consists, viz., in the " reso- 
lution to get wisdom " (Umbreit), or in the in- 
stant observance of the admonition which re- 
lates to this (comp. Elster on this passage [and 
also Kampii.]). i3ut as the beginning of wisdom 
the fear of God is everywhere else designated 
(see Obs. on i. 7) ; and for the absolute use of 
n'D'XI in the sense of prxstantissimum, summum 
(the highest, most excellent thing) we may com- 
pare on the one hand Job xxix. -io, and on the 
other Gen. i. 1. — And with all that thou 
hast gotten get understanding. The beau- 
tiful verbal correspondence in the Hebrew phrase 
is well indicated in the above rendering [in 
which the ambiguity of tne E. V. is avoided; 
with is not to be talten in the sense of in connec- 
tion with, but with the ezpenliture of, ot at the price 
of, — German uin or/w/-]. For the tliouglitcomp. 
iii. 1-4 sq. — Ver. 8. Eatesna her. The verb 

7D7D which occurs only here, — the Pilel of 

77D, — might possibly, as an intensive formed 
from this verb, which as is well known signifies 
*' to heap up, to build a way by mounds and em- 
bankments," express the idea of enclosing with 
a wall, of a firm surrounding and enclosure. So 
the LXX understood it, translating by TTepLxapd- 
Kuaov ahrfiv ; so also theChald., Syr., Vulg., and 
several modern interpreters, e. g., Bertheau, — 
all of whom find expressed in the word the idea 
of a loving clasp and embrace. It is however 
probably simpler and more in accordance with 
the sense of D^H in the parallel clause to take 
the word, as Aden Ezra, Luther, and most mo- 
dern interpreters do, in the sense of " to exalt, 
esteem ;"' [So II., M., N., St. agreeing with the 
E. V.]. With this conception also the second 
clause best agrees, for in this there is added to 
the exliortation to prize and honor wisdom, the 
other admonition to love her. — If thou dost 
embrace her. Wisdom here appears personi- 
fied as a loved one or wife, whom one lovingly 
draws to him, and embraces; comp. v. 20 ; Eccl. 
iii. u. — Ver. '). She will put upon thy 
head a graceful w^reath. Comp. i. 9. — Will 
she bestow upon thee. The rare verb JJO 
which again in llos. xi. 8 stands parallel with 
|nj, according to this passage and Gen. xiv. -0 
undoubtedly signifies to ofl'er, to give, to pre- 
sent some one with something (construed with 
two accusatives). The old translations took it 
sometimes in the sense of protecting (LXX: vtv- 
epaarriaii aov; Vulg. ; proteget te ; so the Syriac), 
as though it were a denominative from |jiO> 
shield. With this, however, the " glorious 
crown" does not correspond, which is evidently 

introduced as an ornament, and not as a protec- 
tion and defence. 

4. Vers. 10-19. The father instructs his son 
concerning the way of wisdom (vers. 11, 18) in 
which he should walk, in contrast with the rui- 
nous path of impiety (vers. 14, 19). — So shall 
the years of thy life be many. Comp. chap, 
iii. 2. [Wordsworth says "This word' □"n 
is plural in the original, as in iii. 2. as if Solo- 
mon would comprehend the future life with the 
present, and add Eternity to Time." He forgets 
that the abstract idea of life is never expressed 
by the singular of this noun except as its stat. 
constr. 'PI is used in formulas of adjuration, e. 
g.. Gen. xlv. 15, 16; 1 Sam. i. 26, etc. See Lex- 
icons generally, and Bott. § 697, 2, § 689, B. a. 
A.] — Ver. 11. In the w^ay of w^isdom, i. e., 
not "in the way to wisdom," but in the way in 
which Wisdom walks, here also again as it were 
personified, — a waj^ which is lovely and peaceful 
(according to iii. 17), a way with "right paths" 
(lit., "paths of straightness," comp. ii. 9, 12) as 
the 2d member and the following verse describe 
it (comp. Job xviii. 7). — [Ver. 12. The pecu- 
liar significance of such promises to an inhabi- 
tant of Palestine, see illustrated, e. g., in Hack- 
ett's Illustrations of Scripture, p. 26. — A.]. — Ver. 

15. Hold fast upon instruction ; let not 
go; keep her; she is thy life, as the be- 
stower of long life ; iii. 2, 16, 18; see below, 
ver. 28. — Ver. 14. And w^alk not, etc. It^X 
properly, to go straight on, here used of the bold, 
arrogant walk of the presumptuous ; comp. ix. 

6; xsiii. 19. To translate "U^'Xrc'^N by "do 
not pronounce happy" (comp. iii. 18) as the LXX, 
Vulg., and Syr. propose, contradicts the paral- 
lelism with "enter not" in the first member. — 
Ver. 15. J^void it. On JHi) to abhor, reject, 
comp. i. 25. — Turn from it and pass away, — 
i. e., €ven if thou hast entered upon it Clw^') 

'^ T T 

still turn aside from it and choose another way, 
which carries thee by the ruinous end of that 
one. — Ver. 16, 17. For they cannot sleep 
unless they sin, etc. Hitzig thinks that in 
this reference to the energy of the wicked in sin- 
ning there can be found no appropriate ground 
for the warning in ver. 15 ; he therefore declares 
vers. 16, 17 a spurious interi^olation, and at the 
same time inverts the order of the two following 
verses, i. e., makes the 19th the 18th; he then 
connects the ''2, "for," the only genuine frag- 
ment remaining of ver. 16, immediately with the 
nyv-} II^T e^c, of ver. 18 (19) ; "For .... 
the way of the wicked is as midnight, etc.'" Since 
however no ancient MSS. or translation exhibits 
anything that favors this emendation, and since 
a certain irregular movement, an abandonment 
of that order of ideas which would seem simpler 
and more obvious, corresponds in general with 
the style of our author (comp. i. 16 sq. ; iii. 3 
sq. ; viii. 4sq.), we may fairl}' disregard so vio- 
lent a treatment. Besides, the substance of vers. 

16, 17, so far forth as they depict the way of the 
wicked as a restless, cruel and abominable course 
of procedure, is plainly quite pertinent as the 
foundation of a warning against this way. And 

CHAP. IV. 1-27. 


that subsequently the concluding description of 
this way as a way of darkness (ver. 19) is not 
introduced until after the contrasted represen- 
tation of the way of the pious (ver. 18), is an 
arrangement favorable to the general rhetorical 
eifect of the whole, like several which we have 
already found, especially in chap. iii. o4, 3-3, 
and also at the eud of chapters i. and ii. — 
Unless they have caused (others) to fall, 
i. e., unless they have betrayed into sin ; the ob- 
ject — viz., others, in general — does not need to 
be here distinctly expressed. For the Hiphil 
\l^U3l, which should be the reading here ac- 
cording to the K'ri, in the ethical sense of " causiag 
to stumble " in the way of truth and uprightness, 
conip. especially Mai. ii. 8, where the " causing 
to fall " is brought into even closer connection 
than in our passage with the idea of " turning 
from the way." [The K'thibh would require the 
translation " they have stumbled," i. e., (figura- 
tively) sinned]. — For they eat bread of wick- 
edness, and -wine of violence do they 
drink. Against the translation of Sciiultens, 


" for wickedness do they eat as bread, and vio- 
lence do they drink as wine" (comp. Job xv. 16; 
xxxiv. 7), may be adduced the position of the 
•words, which should rather stand somewhat in 
this way — for they liave eaten wickedness as 
bread for themselves — if designed to convey the 
manning of a mere comparison. The expressions 
"bread of wickedness, wine of violent deeds," 
plainly conveying a stronger meaning, remind us 
of the " bread of aliliction," Deut. xvi. 3 ; of the 
" bread of sorrows," Psalm cxxvii. 2, and like- 
wise of the " wine of the condemned' •(D'u'-IJ^? J]"') 
Am. ii. 8. 

Ver. 18, 19. Like the light of dawn that 
groweth in brightness till the perfect day, 
liter.illy, '• that grows and brightens (familiar He- 
brew idiom, as in .Judges iv. 21; Esth. is. 1; comp. 
Ew.\LD, Lchrb. 280 6.) even to the establishing of 
the day." JDJ (cons<. «<a/fi of the part. Nipbal of 
1^0) lit., the established, the (apparently) station- 
ary position of the sun at noon (comp. the Greek 
TO aradspbv r?/f /ieariui3piag, which however the 
LXX do not here employ). For HJJ, used of the 
briglitness of the rising sun, comp. Isa. Ix. 3 ; Ixii. 
1. The comparison of the patii, i. c, the moral 
course, of the just with the light of the rising sun, 
bright and ever brightening, is most appropriate. 
If the whole pat his light, a bright, clear knowledge 
of salvation, illumination by the heavenly light 
of divine revelation (comp. vi. 23 ; xxviii. 5 ; Isa. 
ii. .5, etc.) there can naturally be no idea of stumb- 
ling and frtlling suggested (comp. .John xi. 9, 10) ; 
rather will he who walks in this way attain more 
and more to perfect clearness in the inward state 
of his heart and conscience, and therewith also 
in increasing measure to outward prosperity. — 
The way of the wicked is as darkness, 
the exact opposite to that of the righteous. ri73X 
Strictly '-thick darkness," midnight gloom. The 
degree of this <larkness and its evil consequences 
for him who walks in it, the 2d clause clearly de- 
picts ; comp. .John xi. 9, 10, and lor the general 
subject, the previous delineation of the sudden 

destruction of the ungodly, i. 27 sq. ; also ii. 18, 
2.2; iii. 35. 

5. Ver. 20-27. The father's admonition closes 
with an urgent warning to the son against for- 
getting this counsel, with a special reference to 
the ruinous consequences which such a lorge.t- 
tiiig will ensure. — Let them not depart from 
thine eyes. The meaning is " depart, escape," 
just as in iii. 21. Bektheau's interpretation is 
needlessly artificial, — " let them not withdraw 
them" (o Plur. without a delinite subject), /. e., 
let lliem not be witlnlrawn. — Ver. 22. For they 
are life to those v/ho find them : comp. iii. 
2, Itj; iv. 13; and especially for the use of 
" find " in the sense of to attain or to be blessed 
with anything, see iii. 18; viii. 35. — And to 
their •whole body health. Comp. iii. 8, 
where JliKi)") is found instead of the NiJT^ 
of our passage. — Ver. 23. Above all that is 

to be guarded keep thy heart '^'^'d:2~h33 
literally, " more than every object of watching," 
for this is beyond all question the sense of 
*irDi^?D, and not, as Aden Ezra and Jarcui take 

T : • 

it, " a thing against which one must guard," 
which would not correspond with the radical 
meaning of IDiy. The heart as the chief object 
of moral watchfulness, is plainly nothing but 
the conscience, the pmre moral consciousness of 
man, the ayay}?} avvEi6//aic, 1 Tim. i. 5, 19; 1 Pet. 
iii. 16. So HiTziG, with unquestionable cor- 
rectness, referring to Ps. Ii. 10; Job xxvii. 6; 1 
Sam. xxT. 81. — For out of it (flo^w) currents 
of life. Lit., " issues of life " (Beutiieau) /. e., 
oflifeinthe physico-organic as well as in the 
ethical sense; of life so far forth as it manifests 
itself in the normal course and movement of the 
functions of the bodily organism, just as also in 
the lull development of the spiritual powers and 
their working upon external nature. Comp. re- 
marks on ii. 8 sq. Hitzig also, who translates 
D^n r\iXXb"^ not quite appropriately by " paths 
of life," admits' the fact that the expression 
rests upon the recognition of the Iieart as the 
seat and fountain of the blood, and therefore also 
as the central home of the entire life of the phy- 
sical being (in accordance with Lev. xvii. 11; 
Deut. xii. 23 ; and in opposition to Bektheau, 
who denies this reference). So also Umbreit, 
except that he, with a view somewhat partial and 
obscure, conceives of the heart as the "seat of 
the sensibilities," and the life that flows from it 
as the " general sensation of being." ["All vital 
principles are lodged there, and only such as are 
good and holy will give you pleasure. The ex- 
ercises of religion will be pleasant when they are 
natural, and flow easily out of their own foun- 
tain." John Howe, Delighting in (hid. — A.]. — 
Ver. 24. Put a^way from thee perverseness 
of mouth, e^c. "Following the first clause of 
ver. 23 the 24th and 25th verses warn against an 
arbitrary perverting of the moral judgment, into 
which evil passions so easily betray, and admo- 
nish not to give a misdirection to thought (the 
acics animi) within the department of morality " 
(HiTzir.).— Let thine eyes look straight 
for^ward, r/c. A prohibition not of an indolent 
"gazing about" (Bertheau), but of the false 



and evil look of the self-seeking, who does not 
intend honorable dealing with his neighbor, but 
seeks in all his course and dealing to outwit, to 
deceive and overpower him; coiiip. vi. 18; x. 
10; xvi. 30; Ecclosiast. xxvii. 2o ; Matth. vi. 
28. — Ver. 26. Make straight the path of thy 
foot. Plainly something that is possible only in 
connection with eyes that look straight forward 
and correctly; this is therefore the necessary 
practical consequence of the course commended 
in the preceding verse. He only who is from the 
heart honorable and upright is able also in the 
individual forms of his moral action to avoid 
every false step. — Let aU thy ways be esta- 
blished. ^23\ does not mean "let them be 

sure" (Berth.), but "let them be definite, 
fixed," whicli can be the case only with a course 
rightly regulated, straightforward, and sure ; 
comp. Ps. cxix. 133; Heb. xii. 13. The latter 
passage plainly contains an allusion to our verse, 
the first member of which according to the LXX 
reads: 'Opi'^ac Tp^X'^'C '^oiei. co'ig iroah'. — Ver. 27. 
Turn not to the right or to the left, keep 
thy foot far from evil. This fuller explana- 
tion of that iixeduess and certainty of the way 
which is demanded in ver. 26 completes the fa- 
ther's admonition in a way altogether appropri- 
ate, and is therefore neither to be declared, with 
HiTziG, a spurious addition, nor is it, in agree- 
ment with BraiTHEAU, to be deprived of its posi- 
tion and meaning as a concluding appeal, by re- 
ceiving into the text as genuine the two verses 
which appear after it in the LXX (and Vulgate) : 
'OJoi)f yiip Tag m de^iuv oldev 6 -deoc, diearpafiuEvai 
6e etcjLV -ai i^ apiGrepuv. Avrbg de bp-&dg ttou'/gei 
rag rpoxiaq aov, rag 6e Tropeiag gov kv eipyvy Trpoa^ei. 
These two verses, whose substance appears to be 
a mere repetition from vers. 26, and 27, seem to 
owe their origin to the design to secure here 
again, as in the preceding section (vers. 10-19) 
a full decade of verses. In opposition to this 
view, arbitrary and theoretical, that the struc- 
ture of the paragraphs or strophes in the chap- 
ters before us is uniformly equal, i. e., always 
consisting of ten verses — a view to which even 
Bertheau attaches much importance — see, above, 
the Exeget. Notes on chap. 3, No. 1. 


The counsel given by the pious and wise father 
to his son begins with the appeal to him to hold 
fast his words (ver. 4), and ends with an earnest 
warning against a course made insecure and 
dangerous by disregard of these words (vers. 
20-27). Obedience to the word of revealed truth as 
transmitted within the community of the children of 
God, and hequeatlied hi/ parents to their sons, — this 
is the general statement of the import of the de- 
mands of this chapter as a whole, so far forth as 
it may be reduced to a single brief expression. 
It is essentially, as Melancthon says, " adhorta- 
twnes ad studium obedientiie ct ad diU(jentiam reyendi 
disciplinain,'' that are contained in this passage. 
The whole is a chapter on lite right (Christian) 
training of children, an exhibition of the nature 
of that chief manifestation of the Hhokmah 
[practical wisdom], which in the general super- 

scription of the book (i. 3 ; comp. i. 7) was design 
nated as "ID'O or discipline.* To this chief end, 
the holding his son to discipline, to obedience, 
and the cherishing of his wholesome words and 
teachings, all the other prominent ideas which 
find expression in the father's discourse are 
made subservient; the exhibition of wisdom as 
the one costly jewel, whose acquisition is above 
every other, and if necessary, at the cost of all 
other possessions, to be sought and secured (vers. 
5-9; comp. Matth. xiii. 44-46); the emphatic 
admonition to be subject to "discipline," and 
not to let it go, even because it is the life of the 
true and obedient child of God (ver. 13) ; the 
clear delineation of the two paths; the way of 
darkness in which the ungodly walk, and the way 
of light in which the pious and wise are found 
(vers. 14-19); the counsel to guard with all dili- 
gence not merely the word of truth received into 
the heart (vers. 20-22; comp. the e/-ifv7og /Jyog, 
Jas. i. 18), but also the heart itself, as the seat 
of the conscience, and the source of all life and 
prosperity (ver. 28); and finally the commenda- 
tion of a life of honor and integrity, without 
turning to the right hand or to the left, as the 
salutary result of that inward disposition which 
is both pure and sure (vers. 24-27). That a pure 
heart, i. e., one purified by the grace of God, and 
with this a firm heart, i. e., one firmly rooted iu 
truth as its ground, is the source and common 
fountain for the successful development of all 
the main activities and functions of human life, 
those belonging to the sphere of sense, as well as 
to the psychical and spiritual realms, and that 
this must more nnd more manifest itself as such 
a centre of the personality, sending forth light 
and life ; — this thought, expressed in ver. 23 in 
a way peculiarly vigorous and suggestive, un- 
questionably presents the most profound, com- 
prehensive and controlling truth, that the father, 
in the course of his counsels and warnings, gives 
to his son, standing before the portal of the 
school of life, to be borne with him on his way 
(comp. the advice of Tobias to his son : Tob. iv. 
0). — Yet we must also mark as one of the most 
noteworthy of the fundamental ideas of this dis- 
course, the designation, contained in ver. 7, of 
wisdom as the " chief thing," which is to be 
sought above all things else, and to be prized 
above all possessions and treasures. Yet this 
passage probably' requires a different conception 
and application from that which is usually 
found, — so far forth as the thought which haa 
already been expressed, e. g., above, in chap. ii. 
3 sq., " that one must practise wisdom to become 
wise" (comp. Melanchthon on this passage; 
Starke, and of recent writers, especially Elster), 
probably does not correspond with the true im- 
port of iTDpn iTC/XT ; the expression being de- 
signed rather to serve for the designation of wis- 
dom as the highest end of all human counsel and 

* In this particular. BoHLins certainly took the correct 
view, tlmt in lu8 otVierwise reinnrkablo classificiition ol' the 
contents of ttie nine chiipti-is accurding to the seven 
principia etiiices divinie dulitiiivd (l)iuith, Hiiiali, Secliel, 
Tuschijah, Musar. Msiniinah, Oniiali). he a-ssigns to the -Ith 
chapter the Musar (or tlic colligata infnrmatin, as he explains 
the term). See Mliica Sacra, Disp. VI., p. 65 sq. 

CHAP. IV. 1-27. 


Homily on the entire chapter: The two jjaths 
in which youth can walk, — that of obedience and 
that of vice (or the way of wisdom and that of 
folly; the way of light and that of darkness; 
comp. the minute picture of the two ways in the 
Ep. Barnabx, §18-20). — Educational Sermon: 
The fundamental principles of a truly Christian 
education of children, exhibited according to the 
standard of the counsels of a sage of the Old 
Testament to his son. 1st principle: True wis- 
dom (which is equivalent to the fear of God) the 
highest end of all regulations adopted in the 
educational action of parents (vers. 4-9) ; 2d 
principle : As means to this end, an earnest in- 
sisting both upon the reward of walking in the 
light, and upon the punishment for walking in 
darkness (vers. 10-19); 3d principle: Results to 
be anticipated simply from this, that God's word 
be received and cherished in a susceptible and 
good heart (vers. 20-27). — Comp. Stocker: 
Warning against evil companionship: 1) the sim- 
ple command that one must avoid evil company 
(vers. 1-19) ; 2) the way in which this can be 
done (vers. 20-27). — Starke : How David admo- 
nishes Solomon: 1) to the reception of wisdom 
(4-13) ; 2) to the avoidance of impiety (14-19) ; 
8) to the practice of piety (20-27). 

Vers. 4-9. Starke : — Should the case arise, 
that one must lose either true wisdom or all tem- 
poral good, forego rather the latter ; for wisdom 
is better than gold (chap. xvi. 16; Matth. six. 
29). Honor, accomplisliments, graces, esteem, 
each man desires for himself. If thou wouldst 
attain this wish of thine, then seek wisdom ; she 
gloriously rewards her admirers. — [Ver. 4. 
Bridges: — This heart-keeping is the path of life. 
GouLBURN : — Endeavor to make your heart a 
little sanctuary, in which you may continually 
realize the presence of God, and from which un- 
hallowed thoughts and even vain thoughts must 
carefully be excluded.] — Berleb. Bible: — The 
two conditions of the Christian life: 1) its com- 
mencement, the seeking and finding of wisdom 
(ver. 7, according to the common interpretation); 
2) its continuance, dependent upon preserving 
wisdom, and thereby being preserved, advanced, 
and brought to honor by it (vers. 8, 9). — [Ver. 
7. Trapp: Make religion thy business: other 
things do by the by]. — Vers. 10-19. Hasius : 
To set one's foot in the way of good is oft times 
not so difficult as to go vigorously forward in it. 
The power of temptation is great; the tinder of 
vice is naturally in us ; even a little spark can 
kindle it. — Zeltner: Impossible as it is that a 
stone fall into the water and remain dry, so im- 
possible is it that a lover of evil company be not 
betrayed, Ecclesiast. xiii. 7 ; 1 Cor. xv. 33. — 
[Ver. IS. Arnot: The sun is an emblem not of 
the justitied, but of the justiner. Christ alone is 
the source of light: Christians are only its re- 
flectors. The just are those whom the Sun of 
righteousness shines upon; when they come 
beneath His healing beams, their darkness flies 
away. Tliey who once were darkness are light 
now, but it is "in the Lord."] — Starke: The 

pious can avoid the snares of destruction through 
the light of the Holy Spirit ; but the ungodly 
stumble in darkness and fall into the pits of 
death. As one from darkness walks on in dark- 
ness, so from light into light (ver. 18; comp. Prov. 
xii. 28; Ps. Ixxxiv. 7; Job v. \2-\i).— Berleb. 
Bible: The soul in its conversion to God must 
1) hear His word; 2) receive the influence of 
this word, and by it be directed to the way of 
truth ; 3) be guided by God in this way ; 4) un- 
der God's guidance and protection learn so to 
run in this way that it shall nowhere stumble nor 
fall. — [Ver. 19. Emmons: Sinners are in such 
darkness that they are insensible to the objects 
that are leading them to ruin ; thus they stumble 
a) at the great deceiver ; b) at one another ; c) at 
Divine Providence ; d) at their common employ- 
ments; e) at the nature and tendency of their re- 
ligious performances; /) at the preaching they 
hear ; g) at the blindness of their own hearts.] 

Vers. 20-27. J. Lange : — The inner spiritual 
life begins with the heart. As is the heart so are 
all its issues ; for "from the heart proceed evil 
thoughts," etc., Matth. xv. 19; xii. 35. — Bcr- 
Ich. Bible: The heart must keep the doctrine, 
and the doctrine the heart. Both are so inti- 
mately connected that neither can be without the 
other. . . . Nature herself in the natural heart 
shows with what care we must keep the spiritual 
(ethical) heart. In this we can never be too 
precise, too sharp, or too careful. If we guard 
our house, much more must the heart be 
guarded; the watches must there be doubled, 
etc. — In this all the duties of a door-keeper com- 
bine, reminding us who goes in and out, what 
sort of thoughts enter into the heart, what sort 
of desires go out, etc. Self-denial is the best 
means to such a keeping of the heart. It must 
stand as porter before the heart's door ; and the 
cross and the patience of Christ is the best door 
of the heart, well preserved with bolts and bara 
against all intrusion or violence. — Saurin (ser- 
mon on ver. 20) : — On the needful attention which 
each should give to liis ways. — Calwer Handb.: — 
Threefold counsel in regard to the w.ay and 
means of continuing in the right path : 1) give 
good heed to thy heart ; 2) put away a perverse 
mouth (ver. 24) ; 3) let thine eyes look straight- 
forward (vers. 25-27). — Von Gerlach: — The 
first and most immediate thing proceeding from 
the heart is words, then deeds. Let the former 
be above all things truthful and sincere ; the lat- 
ter circumspect, well considered, and then exe- 
cuted with certainty and confidence (vers. 20, 27). 
Comp. Bom. xiv. 23; and Seneca's well known 
maxim: Quod dubitas, ne feceris. — [Arnot: We 
cry to God in the words of David, Create in me 
a clean heart, and He answers back by the mouth 
of David's son, Keep thy heart. Keep it with 
the keeping of heaven above, and of the earth 
beneath, — God's keeping bespoken in prayer, and 
man's keeping applied in watchful effort. — Ver. 
27. Trapp: Keep the king's highway: keep 
within God's precincts, and ye keep under His 
protection. — Bridges : Though to keep the heart 
be God's work, it is man's agency. Our eflorts 
are His instrumentality.] 


8. Warning against intercourse with wanton women, and against the ruinous consequences of 


Chap. V. 1-23. 

1 My son, give heed to my wisdom, 
to my prudence incline thine ear, 

2 so that thou maintain discretion, 
and thy lips preserve knowledge. 

3 For the lips of the strange woman distil honey, 
and smoother than oil is her mouth : 

4 but at last she is bitter as wormwood, 
sharp as a two-edged sword. 

5 Her feet go down to death, 

her steps lay hold upon the lower world; 

6 the path of life she never treadeth, 

her steps stray, she knoweth not whither. 

7 And now, ye children, hearken to me, 

and depart not from the words of my mouth ! 

8 Turn away thy path from her, 

and draw not near to the door of her house ! 

9 that thou mayest not give to others thine honor, 
and thy years to a cruel one ; 

10 that strangers may not sate themselves with thy strength, 
and (the fruit of) thy labor (abide) in a stranger's house, 

11 and thou must groan at last 

when thy body and thy flesh are consumed, 

12 and say, " Why then did I hate correction 
and my heart despised reproof? 

13 and I did not hearken to the voice of my teachers, 
did not incline mine ear to those that instructed me? 

14 Well nigh had I fallen intc* utter destruction 

in the midst of the assembly and the congregation !" 

15 Drink waters from thine own cistern, 

and flowing streams from thine own well spring ! 

16 Shall thy streams flow abroad 
as water brooks in the streets? 

17 Let them be thine alone, 

and none belong to strangers with thee. 

18 Let thy fountain be blessed, 

and rejoice in the wife of thy youth, 

19 the lovely hind, the graceful gazelle ; 
let her bosom charm thee always ; 

in her love delight thyself evermore. 

20 Why, my son, wouldst thou be fascinated with a stranger, 
and embrace the bosom of a wanton woman ? 

21 For before the eyes of Jehovah are the ways of man, 
and all his paths He marketh out. 

22 His own sins overtake him, the evil doer, 
and by the cords of his sin is he held fast. 

23 He will die for lack of correction, 

and in the greatness of his fully will he perish. 

CHAP. V. 1-23. 



Ver. 1. — [The shortened Imperative is even more than the paragogfc entitled to the first place in its clause; here JOH 
follows its object, BiJTT., ? 960, c. ex. (comp. critical note on iv. 20).— A.] 

Ver. 2. — TOu''^. The construction in the Hebrew is the same as in chap. ii. 8; the Infinitive with 7 is followed by 

the finite verb, f^li' J\ a niasc. verbal form with a fern, subject, — comp. note on iv. 10. For emphasis or euphony the assi- 
milation of tlie 3 is sometimes dispensed with. B6tt,^1I00, 3. — A.] 

Ver. li.— ['jl"n, a Perl', with the signification of apluperf. subj.; a very little and I should have fallen. Comp. BoTT., 

§947, d.— A.l 

Ver. 18 [BoTT., § 964, 6, makes Tlj^ 'in example of the desponsive use of the Jussive, and therefore makes it more than 

the expression of a wish (see Exeg. notes); it becomes an anticipation or promise. — A.] 

Ver. 22. — [IJl^*?', a unique example of the attachment of 1, a more common sufBx of the Perf , to the lengthened form 

of the tliird plnr.' m:isc. of Ihe Imperf. See BoTT., ^ 8S1, A,— 1042, 5,-1047, ex., correcting Ewald, § 250 6, who makes the 
J epenthetic. See also Geebn, § 105, c— A.] 


1. In opposition to the opinion of those who 
refer vers. 1-G to the discourse of the father in 
ch. iv. 4 sq., consult above, p. 71. J. A. Bengel 
appears even to have regarded the entire fifth 
chapter as a continuation of that discourse, for 
he remarks on ver. 1, "Inasmuch as David's 
careful directions to Solomon bear upon un- 
chastity, it seems likely tliat David and Bathsheba 
were concerned lest Solomon might also pursue 
a course like that in which the parents sinned 
together " (see Beitrdge zu J. A. Bengel's Schrift- 
erkldrung, mitgetheilt von Dr. OsK. Waechter, 
Leips. , 18fi')," p. 26). But the son addressed in 
the preceding chapter was conceived of as a 
"tender child;" the one now addressed is a 
young man already married, see vers. 15-19. 
For, as in the similar admonitions of the 6th and 
7th chapters, it is not simple illicit intercourse, 
but such an intercourse within marriage rela- 
tions, adulterous intercourse with lewd women, 
that constitutes the object of the admonitory 
representations of the teacher of wisdom. — 
Furthermore, as Berthe.\u rightly observes, the 
passage before us, in its substance and i.tb form, 
variously reminds us of chap, ii., especially in 
respect to its form, by its long propositions ex- 
tended through several verses (3 sq., 8 sq., 15 
sq.). As the three main divisions of the discourse 
are of not quite equal length, we may with Hit- 
ziG distinguish the introductory paragraph, vers. 
1-6; the central and chief didactic section, vers. 
7-20; which again falls into two divisions, vers. 
7-11; and 15-20; and the epilogue, vers. 21-23. 

2. Vers. 1-6. My son, give heed to my 
"wisdom, etc. — Quite similar are the demands 
which introduce the two subsequent warnings 
against uuchaslity. — Chap. vi. 20 and vii. 1. — 
So that thou maintain discretion — literally 
reflection, n"l3?0, which elsewhere is usually 
employed in a bad sense, of base deceitful propo- 
sals, but here denotes the wise prudential consi- 
deration, the circumspect demeanor of the wise; 
comp. the singular in ch. i. 4. — And thy lips 
preserve knowledge. — The lips— not precisely 
the heart, chap. iii. 1 — are to preserve knowledge 
so far forth as it is of moment to retain literally 
the instructions of wisdom and often to repeat 
them. — Ver. 3. For the lips of the strange 
e7oman distil honey. — The "stranger" is the 
harlot, as iu chap. iii. 16. Her lips "drop 

honey " (ri3J, comp. Ps, xis. 11) because of the 
sweetness not of her kisses but of her words. 
Comp. the quite similar representation, Song Sol. 
iv. 11, and as a sample of the wanton woman's 
words that are sweet as honey, Prov. vii. 14 sq. 
— Smoother than oil is her moutli. — The 
palate (^n) as an instrument of discourse occurs 
also chap. viii. 7 ; Job vi. 30 ; xxxi. 30. The 
"smoothness" of discourse as a symbol of the 
flattering and seductive, chap. ii. 16; vi. 24. — 
Ver. 4. But at last she is bitter — literally 
"her last is bitter" (comp. xxiii. 32), i. e., that 
which finally reveals itself as her true nature, 
and as the ruinous consequence of intercourse 

with her. — As wormwood (nj;i.n, for which 
the LXX inaccurately gives jo/'v/), gall), a well 
known emblem of bitterness, as in Deut. xxix. 
18; Jer. ix. 15; Am. v. 7; vi. 12. It is "a 
plant toward two feet high, belonging to the 
Genus Artemisia (Spec. Artemisia absinthium), 
which produces a very firm stalk with many 
branches, grayish leaves, and small, almost round, 
pendent blossoms. It has a bitter and saline 
taste, and seems to have been regarded iu the 
East as also a poison, of which the frequent 

combination with HNI gives an intimation" (Um- 
bkeit; comp. Celsius, Hierobot. I. 480; Oken, 
Naturgesch. III. 763 sq.).— As a two-edged 
sword — literally as a sword of mouths, a sword 
with more than one mouth (j"*1'3 ^?n, comp. Ps. 
cxlix. 6 ; Judg. iii. 16). [The multiplicative 
plural is sometimes used thus even of objects that 
occur in pairs; comp. Bott., \ 702, .3 — A.] "The 
fact that the surface of the sword is also smooth 
is in this antithesis to the second clause of ver. 
3 properly di.«regarded," Hitzig. — Vers. 5 and 6 
explain and confirm more fully the stateincnt of 
ver. 4. — Upon the lower w^orld her steps 
lay hold — i. e., they hasten straight and surely 
to the kingdom of the dead, the place of those 
dying unblessed. [The author cannot be under- 
stood as meaning that SlNC' is always and only 
the place of those dying unblessed. The passage 
cited, ch.ap. i. 12, is inconsistent with this, — so 
is the first passage in the 0. T. where the word 
occurs, Gen. xxxvii. 35,— so is the last passage, 
Ilab. ii. 5. — so are many intervening passages, 
especially such as Ps. xvi. 10; Eccles. ix. 10. If 
the word here has this intensive meaning, it must 



appear from the connection. See, therefore, D'-H 
inver. 6, whicli plainly has a mornl import. Comp. 
Fuerst's Handw. — A.] Comp. ii. 16 ; vii. 27, — 

and on SiNt:?, Hades, the lower world, i. 12. — 
The path of life she never treadeth.— The 

Terb dSs, here just as in iv. 26, means to measure 
off (not to "consider," as Bbrtheau maintains), 
to travel over. The particle |D, nc forte, stands 
here, as in Job xxxii. 13, "independent of any 
preceding proposition, and in accordance with 
its etymology signifies substantially ' God forbid 
that,' e/e., or 'there is no danger that,'" etc., 
HiTZiG ; it is therefore equivalent to "surely 
not, nevermore." Aben Ezra, Cocceius, C. B. 

MiCHAELis and others regard Dy.^n as second 
pers. masc; "viam vilxne forte erpendas, vagantur 
orhitse ejus" ["lest perchance thou shouldst pon- 
der the way of life, her paths wander ;" which is 
very nearly the language of the E. V.]. But the 
second clause shows that the wanton woman must 
be the subject of the verb. Bertheau's transla- 
tion is however also too hard and forced, accord- 
ing to which the first clause is dependent upon 
the second, but it is to be regarded as a negative 
final clause prefixed; "that shemaynot ponder (!) 
the path of life, her paths have become devious," 
etc. [This is the view adopted by Holuen, 
Stuart, AVordsworth, and De Wette ; Kajiph. 
has the same conception of the relation of the 
clauses, but prefers the verb eifischlajcn, adopt or 
enter — A.] The LXX, Vulg. and other ancient 
versions already contain the more correct inter- 
pretation, regarding ji3 as here essentially equiva- 
lent to id ; only that the emphatic intensifying 
of the neg:ition should not be overlooked. — 
[FtJERST [llandw.) is also decidedly of this opi- 
nion ; he renders " dass ja nicht "^so that hy no 
means; he explains the idiom as representing a 
necessary consequence as an object contemplated. 
— A.] — Her steps stray, she knoweth not 
"whither. — U'J is here doubtless not intended as 


an inceptive ("they fall to staggering"), nor in 
general does it design to express a "staggering 
of the tracks or paths," a figure in itself inap- 
propriate. It probably signifies rather a roving, 
an uncertain departure from the way {yrgigrcssus, 

Vulg.) ; and the J^in \s! which is connected 
•with it is not to be explained by "she marks it 
not, without her perceiving it, unawares " (as it 
is usually taken, after the analogy of Job ix. 5; 
Ps. XXXV. 8) [so by Noyes, Stuart, Muensch.; 
while the E. V. follows the old error of making 
the verb a second person. — A.], but by "she 
knows not whither," as an accusative of direc- 
tion subordinated to the foregoing idea (IIitzig, 
De Wette). 

2. Vers. 7-14. And now, ye children, 
hearken to me. — Hj'^Jt^l draws an inference 
from what prccciles, and introduces the following 
admonition; comp vii. 24. The "words of my 
mouth " are the specific words contained in ver. 
8 sq — Ver. 0. That thou mayest irot give 
thine hOi^ov to others — /. e.. us an adulterer, 
who is appreheiuied and cxposeti to ]iul)lic dis- 
grace. — And thy years to a cruel one — /. e.. 

to the injured husband, who will punish the pa- 
ramour of his faithless wife with merciless seve- 
rity, perchance sell him as a slave, or even take 
his life. [This explanation is grammatically 
better than that (of Holden, e. g.) which makes 
the "cruel one" the adulteress, and more direct 
than that (of Stuart and others) which makes 
him the purchaser of the punished adulterer. — 
A.]. Comp. vi. 34, and below, ver. 14, — Ver. 10. 
That strangers may not sate themselves 

with thy strength. — T\p might, strength, is 
here undoubtedly equivalent to property, posses- 
sions, as the parallel 'T3i^\ thy toils, i. e., what 
thou hast laboriously acquired, the fruit of thy 
bitter sweat (Vulg. hihoris tui), plainly indicates. 
The idea is here plainly this, that the foolish para- 
mour will be plundered through the avaricious 
demands of the adulterous woman (comp. vi. 
26), and that thus his possessions will gradually 
pass over into other hands (Ecclesiast. ix. 6). 
A different explanation is given by Ewald, Ber- 
THEAU, Elster (in general also by Umbreit); 
that the proper penalty for adultery was accord- 
ing to Lev. XX. 10; Deut. xxii. 22 sq.: John viii. 
5, stoning ; in case, however, the injured husband 
had been somewhat appeased, the death penalty 
was on the ground of a private agreement 
changed into that of a personal ownership, the 
entrance into the disgracefully humiliating con- 
dition of servitude, and that allusion is here 
made to this last contingency. But while the 
superficial meaning of vers. 9 and 10 could be 
reconciled with this assumption, yet tlicre is no- 
thing whatsoever known of anj' such custom, of 
transmuting the death prescribed in the law for 
the adulterer by a compromise into his sale as a 
slave; and as the entire assumption is besides 
complicated with considerable subjective difficul- 
ties (see Hitzig on this passage), the above ex- 
planation is to be preferred as the simpler and 
more obvious. — Ver. 11. And thou must 
needs groan at last — literally "at thine eiul," 
i. c, when thou hast done, when all is over with 
thee. DilJ used of the loud groaning of the poor 
and distressed also in Ez. xxiv. 23 ; comp. Prov. 
xix. 12; XX. 2; xxviii. 15, where the same word 
describes the roaring of the lion. The LXX 
(/cat iiETafielij&yari) appear to have read r^pHJl 
a gloss containing a true explanation, but need- 
lessly weakening the genuine sense of the word. 
— When thy body and flesh are consumed. 
'Ilisi;?^ T"?'^?> *• ^■■> plainly tlqi whole body ; the 
two synonymes, the first of which describes the 
flesh with the frame, and the second the 
flesh in the strictest sense, without the bones, are 
designed to emphasize the idea of the body in its 
totality, and that witli tlie intention of marking 
"the utter destruction of the libertine" (Um- 
hreit). — Ver. 12. Why did I then hate cor- 
rection ? — Literally, How did 1 then hate cor- 
rection? i. e., in what an inexcusable waj"? 
How could I then so hate correction? — Ver. 14. 
A little more, ind I had fallen into utter 
destruction — i. c, how narrowly did 1 escape 
a fall into the extremest ruin, literally, "into 
entireness of misery, into completeness of de- 
struction!" As tlte second cbuise shows, the 
allusion is to the danger of condemnation before 

CHAP. V. 1-23. 


the assembled congregjitiou, and of execution by 
Stoning ; see above on ver. 10. — Assembly and 

congregation — Hebrew ^Hp and mj,' — stand 
in the rehitiou of the convened council of the el- 
ders acting as judges (Deut. xxxiii. '1, 5), and the 
concourse of tlie people executing the condemn- 
ing sentence (Numb. xv. 3-3 ; comp. Ps. vii. 7). 

For lT\i) is in general alwavs a convened assem- 
bly, convocatio; HIJ^ on the contrary is a multi- 
tude of the people gathering without any special 
call, coetus sive muUitudo. 

4. Vers. 15-20. To the detailed warning set 
forth in vers. 8-14 there is now added a corre- 
sponding positive antithesis, a not less appi'opri- 
ate admonition to conjugal fidelity and purity. — 
Drink w^aters outof thine own cistern, etc., 
i. c, seek the satisfaction of love's desire simply 
and alone with thine own wife. "The wife is 
appropriately compared with a fountain not 
merely inasmuch as offspring are born of her, 
but also since she satisfies the desire of the man. 
In connection with this we must call to mind, in 
order to feel the full power of the figure, how in 
antiquity and especially in the East the posses- 
sion of a spring was regarded a great and even 
sacred thing. Thus the mother Sarah is com- 
pared to a well spring. Is. li. 1, and Jndah, the 
patriarch, is spoken of as 'waters,' Is. xlviii. 
1 ; as also Israel, Num. xxiv. 7 ; Ps. Ixviii. 23 " 
(Ujirreit). Compare also Song Sol. iv. 12. — 
And flowing streams from thine own well 
spring — With 113, i. e., properly "cistern." an 
artificially prepared reservoir, there is associated 
in the second clause ^'^^, fountain, t. e., a natural 
spring of water conducted to a particular foun- 
tain or well spring. Ouly such a natural fountain- 
head (comp. Gen. xxvi. 15-20) can pour forth 

D'/TIJ, i. e., purling waters, living, fresh, cool 
water for drinking (Song Sol. iv. 15; Jcr. xviii. 
14). — Ver. 16. Shall thy streams flow- 
abroad as w^ater brooks in the streets? — 

To supply |£3 (Gesenius, Umbreit) or iH (Ew- 
ALD, BErTHEAU, Elster [Stu.\ut], etc.) is 
needless, if the verse be conceived of as interro- 
gative, which, like Prov. vi. 30 ; Ps. Ivi. 7 sq., is 
indicated as such only by the interrogative tone. 
So with unquestionable correctness Hitzig. A 
purely affirmative conception of tlie sentence, 
according to which it is viewed as representing 
tlie blessing of children born of this lawful con- 
jugal love under the figure of a stream overflow- 
ing and widely extending (Schultens, Doder- 
LEiN, Von Hofmann, Schriflbew., II., 2, 875 
[Holden, Noyes, Muenscher, Wordsw.], etc.) 
would seriously break the connection with ver. 
17. As to the subject, i. e., the description of a 
wife who has proved false to her husband and 
runs after other men, comp. especially chap. vii. 
12. — Ver. 18. Let thy fountain be blessed. 
— TT' "attaches itself formally to the jussive 
Vri"' of the preceding verse" (Htrzio), and so 
adds to the wish that conjugal fidelity may pre- 
vail between the married pair, the further wish 
that prospprity and blessing may attend their 
union, 'n-1'^3 doubtless used of substantial bless- 

ings, /. c, of the prosperity and joy which the 
husband is to prepare for his wife, as an instru- 
ment in the favoring hand of God. This, which 
is Hitzig's view, the connection with the second 
clause recommends above that of Umbreit, which 
explains "H-TIB as here meaning " extolled," and 
also above that of Bertheait, which contem 
plates "children as the blessing of marriage."— ^ 
And rejoice w^ith the w^ife of thy youth. — 
Comp. L)eut. xxiv. 5; Eccles. ix. '■>. "Wife of thy 
youth," i. c, wife to whom thou hast given the 
fair bloom of thy youth (Umbreit). Compare 
the exj^ression "companion of youth " in ii. 17- 
In a needlessly artificial way Ew.-vld and Ber- 
theau have regarded the entire eighteenth verse 
as a final clause depending on the second member 
of ver. 17: "that thy fountain may be blessed, 
and thou mayest have joy," etc. Hitzig rightly 
observes that to give this meaning we should 
have expected "'rT'l instead of 'H], and likewise 
Dnot^l instead of notyv and that in general ver. 

T :- |t: - : ' ° 

18 does not clearly appear to be a final clause. 
[Stuart makes the second clause final, depending 
on the first, which is also unnecessarily involved.] 
— Ver. 19. The lovely hind, the graceful 
gazelle. — Fitly chosen images to illustrate the 
graceful, lively, fascinating nature of a young 
wife; comp. the name "gazelle" C^Y, Taj3c-dd 
and its equivalent AopKog as a woman's proper 
name ; Acts ix. 86 ; also Song Sol. ii. 9, 17 ; viii. 
14. Ujibreit refers to numerous parallels from 
Arabic and Persian poets, which show the popu- 
larity of this figure in Oriental literature. 
[" These pretty animals are amiable, affectionate 
and loving by universal testimony — and no 
sweeter comparison can be found." Thomson, 
The Land and the Book, I., 252 — A.]— Let her 
bosom charm thee alw^ays. — Instead of 
n']l'3, her breasts, the Vcrsio Veneta reads ri'lT 
her love {al ravTr/g <l>i?Jai); which reading 
Hitzig prefers ("iA?-e Minne"). A needless 
alteration and weakening of the meaning, in ac- 
cordance wiih Song Sol. i. 2; Prov. vii. 18, as 
rendered by the LXX. Comp. rather the remarks 
below on ver. 20. — In her love delight thy- 
self evermore. TMU elsewhere used of the 


staggering gait of the intoxicated (chap. xx. 1 ; 
Isa. xxviii. 7), hereby a bold trope used of the 
ecstatic joy of a lover. That the same word is 
employed in the next verse for the description 
of the foolish delirium of the libertine hastening 
after the harlot, and again in ver. 23 of the ex- 
hausted prostration of the morally and physi- 
cally ruined transgressor, — and is tlierefore used 
in each instance with a somewhat modified mean- 
ing, indicates plainly a definite purpose. The 
threefold use of njiy is intended to constitute 

T T 

a climax, to illustrate the sad consequences of 
sins of unchastity. — Ver. 20. Emphatic sequel to 
the foregoing, concisely and vigorously summing 
up the admonitory and warningcontouts of vers. 
8-19. And embrace the bosom of a wanton 
woman. This expression (pn p^np) testi- 
fies to the correctness of the reading H'^l in 
ver. 19. 

5. Vers. 21-23. Epilogue for the monitory pre- 
sentation of the truth that no one is in condition 



to conceal his adultery, be it ever so secretly 
practiced, — tliat on tlie contrary God sees this 
with every otlier transgression, and punishes it 
■with the merited destruction of the sinner. — For 
before Jehovah's eyes are the ways of 
man, and all his paths He marketh. — (D73 
here also not to "ponder," but to "mark out," 
see note on ver. 6.) An important proof text not 
merely for God's omniscience, but also for His 
epecial providence and '^ concursus" [cooperation 
in human conduct]. Comp. Job xxxiv. 21 ; xxiv. 
23 ; xxxi. 4, etc. — Ver. 22. His sins overtake 
him, the evil doer. The double designation of 

the object, by the suffix in '1J7^^! and then by the 
expression " the evil doer," added far emphasis, 
gives a peculiar force. Corap. xiv. 13; Ezek. xvi. 
3; Jer. ix. 25. — By the cords of his sin. 
Comp. Isa. V. 18, and in general, for the sentiment 
of the whole verse, chap. i. 31, 32; xi. 5; xviii. 7 ; 
xxix. 6 ; Ps. vii. 15 ; xl. 12 ; John viii. 34; 2 Pet. 
ii. 19. — Ver. 23. For lack of correction. 
This is undoubtedly the explanation of "1D=!0 j'^!?, 
and not "without correction" (Umbreit). The 
3 is not circumstantial, but causal (instrumental), 
as in the 2d member. — As to the meaning of 
njE? see above, remarks on ver. 19, 

T T 


That our chapter holds up in opposition 
to all unregulated gratification of the sexual 
impulses, the blessing of conjugal fidelity and 
chastity, requires no detailed proof. It is a 
chapter on a pious marriage relation, appropri- 
ately attached to the preceding, on the right 
training of children ; for pious and strict disci- 
pline of children is impossible, where the sacred 
bonds of marriage are disregarded, violated and 
trampled under foot. In conformity with the 
thoroughly practical nature of the doctrine of 
■wisdom (the Hhokmah), the author, as vers. 15- 
20 show, completely overthrows all the demands 
and suggestions of a sensual desire that has 
broken over all the sacred bounds prescribed by 
God, and so, as it were, has become wild and in- 
sane, by exhibiting the satisfaction of the sexual 
impulse in marriage as justified and in conformity 
•R-ith the divine rule. An important hint for a 
practical estimate of the contents of this chapter, 
from which evidently there may be drawn not 
merely material and arguments for a thorough 
treatment of the Christian doctrine with respect 
to the sixth commandment in general, but spe- 
cially for the exhibition of the true evangelical 
idea of marriage, in contrast -vvith tlie extrava- 
gant asceticism of Romish theology, and also of 
many sects both of ancient and modern times 
(Moutanists', Eustathians, Cathari, Gichtelites, 
etc.). In this connection 1 Cor. vii. must also, 
naturally, be brouglitinto the account, especially 
the 5tli verse of this chapter, which exhibits the 
fundamental idea of vers. 15-20 of oui* section, 
reduced to the briefest and most concise form 
that is possible ; with the addition of the need- 
ful corrective, and the explanation that is ap- 
propriate in connection with the " always " and 
" evermore " of ver. 19, which might possibly be 

As a homily, therefore, on the entire chapter i 
On the right keeping of the Gtli commandment, 
a) througli tlie avoidance of all unchastity ; b) 
through tlie maintenance of a faithful (vers. 15- 
20) and devout (vers. 21-23) demeanor in the 
sacred marriage relation. — Melanchthon: The 
sum of the matter is : Love truly thine own wife, 
and be content with her alone, as this law of 
m.arriage was at once ordained in Paradise 
(Gen. ii.): "they shall be one flesh," i. e., one 
male and one female united inseparably. For 
then also, even if human nature had remained 
incorrupt, God would have wished men to com- 
prehend purity, and to maintain the exercise of 
obedience by observing this order, viz. ,hy avoid- 
ing all -wandering desires. Comp. Augustine: 
Marriage before the fall was ordained for duty, 
after the fall for a remedy. 

Vers. 1-4. Egabd : — A harlot is the devil's de- 
coy, and becomes to many a tree of death unto 
death. The fleshly and the spiritual harlot most 
fill hell (chap. vii. 27). The devil comes first 
with sweetness and friendliness, to betray man, 
afterward however with bitterness, to destroy 
the soul. — [Ver. 3. Teafj : There is no such 
pleasure as to have overcome an offered plea- 
sure ; neither is there any greater conquest 
than that that is gotten over a man's corrup- 
tions.] — Starke: Beware of the spiritual anti- 
christian harlot, -who tempts the whole world to 
idolatry, and to forsaking the true God (1 John 
Y. 21). — There are in general many allegorical 
interpretations in the old writers, in which the 
strange, lascivious woman is either partially or 
outright assumed (as, e. g., more recently in the 
Berlcb, Bible.) to be the designation of " the 
false church," of antichrist, of worldly wisdom, 
etc. [See also V/ordsw. in loc., and also on ver. 
19, together with his citations from Bede, etc. 
— A.]. For Evangelical preaching, naturally, 
only a treatment that is partially allegorical, can 
be regarded admissible, and in the end expedi- 
ent ; such a treatment as consists in a generali- 
zation of the specific prohibition of unchastity 
into a warning against spiritual licentiousness or 
idolatry in general. 

Ver. 15-23. Starke : An admonition to hold 
to one's own wife only ; 1) the admonition (16- 
17) ; 2) the motives : a) the blessing on such con- 
jugal fidelity (18, 19) ; b) the dishonor (20, 21) 
and c) the ruinous result of conjugal unfaithful- 
ness (22, 23). — [Ver. 15. Arnot: God conde- 
scends to bring His own institute forward in ri- 
valry with the deceitful pleasures of sin. All 
the accessories of the family are the Father's 
gift, and He expects us to observe and value 
them. — H. Smith (quoted by Bridges) : First 
choose thy love ; then love thy choice.] — Egard: 
A married life full of triie love, joy and peace, is 
a paradise on earth ; on the other hand, a mar- 
riage full of hate, unfaithfulness and strife is a 
real hell. — Von Gerlach : The loveliness and 
enjoyment of a happy domestic relation as the 
earthly motive, tlie holy ordinance of matrimony 
watched over by God with omniscient strictness, 
as the higher motive to chastity. — Cahccr lland- 
bucli : Be true to thine own wife ; therein is hap- 
piness ! Sin against her, and thou becomest 
through thine own fault wretched! — [Ver. 21. 
Trapp: A man that is about any evil should 

CHAP. VI. 1-3 J. 81 

stand in awe of himself; how much more of 
God! — Arnot: Secrecy is the study and hope 
of the wicked. A sinner's chief labor is to hiile 
his sin ; and his labor is all lost. Sin becomes 

the instrument of punishing sinners — retribution 
in the system of nature, set in motion by the act 
of sin]. 

9. Warning against inconsiderate suretyship. 
Chap. VI. 1-5. 

1 My son, if thou hast become surety for thy neighbor, 
hast given thine hand to a stranger; 

2 if thou art entangled through the words of thy mouth, 
art snared by the words of thy mouth : 

3 then do this, my son, and free thyself, 

since thou hast come into the hand of thy neighbor : 
go, bestir thyself, and importune thy neighbor! 

4 Give no sleep to thine eyes, 
nor slumber to thine ryelids; 

6 free thyself, like a roe, from his hand, 

and like a bird from the hand of the fowler. 

10. Rebuke of the sluggard. 
Chap. VI. 6-11, 

6 Go to the ant thou sluggard ; 
consider her ways and be wise ! 

7 which hath no governor, 
director, or ruler ; 

8 (yet) she prepare th in summer her food, 
she gathereth in harvest her store ! 

9 How long wilt thou lie, O sluggard? 
when wilt thou rise from thy sleep? 

10 "A little sleep, a little slumber, 

a little folding of the hands to rest ;" — 

11 then Cometh thy poverty like a robber, 
and thy want as an armed man ! 

11. Warning against deceit and Tiolent dealing. 
Chap. VI. 12-19. 

12 A worthless creature is the deceiver, 

he that walketh in perverseness of speech ; 

13 he who Avinketh with his eye, who speaketh with his foot, 
who hinteth with his finger. 

14 Perverseness is in his heart, 
he deviseth evil at all times ; 
he stirreth up strifes. 

15 Therefore suddenly shall his destruction come, 

in a moment shall he be destroyed, and there is no remedy. 

16 These six things Jehovah hateth, 

and seven are an abhorrence of his soul ; 

17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, 

and hands that shed innocent blood ; 


18 a heart that deviseth evil plots, 
feet that make haste to run to evil; 

19 one that uttereth lies as a false witness, 

and one that stirreth up strifes between brethren. 

12. Admonition to chastity with a warning delineation of the fearful consequences of adultery. 

Chap. VI. 20-85. 

20 Keep, O my son, thy father's commandment, 
and reject not the law of thy mother: 

21 hind them to thy heart evermore, 
fasten it about thy neck. 

22 When thou walkest let it guide thee, 
when thou liest down let it guard thee, 
and at thy waking let it talk with thee. 

23 For a lamp is the commandment, and the law a light, 
and the reproofs of corrections are a way of life; 

24 to keep thee from the vile woman, 

from the flattering tongue of the strange woman. — 

25 Long not for her beauty in thy heart, 

and let her not catch thee with her eyelids! 

26 For for the sake of a harlot one cometh to a loaf of bread, 
and a man's wife lieth in wait for the precious life. 

27 May one take fire in his bosom, 
and his clothes not be burned? 

28 Or may one walk upon coalrf, 
and his feet not be scorched ? 

29 So he who goeth to his neighbor's wife; 

no one that toucheth her shall be unpunished. 

30 Men do not overlook the thief, when he stealeth 
to satisfy his craving when he is hungry ; 

31 if he be found he must restore seven fold, 
the whole wealth of his house must he give. 

32 He who comraitteth adultery is beside himself; 
he that destroyeth himself doeth such things. 

33 Stripes and disgrace doth he find, 
and his reproach will not pass away. 

34 For jealousy is man's fierce anger, 

and he spareth not in the day of vengeance. 

35 He regardeth not any ransom, 

and is not willing if thou increase thy gift. 


Vera. 1 3. The form Ty*1, 'which is found in some texts, is not a plural, but the '" "indicates in pause the pro- 
nunciation with - asinGeii. xvi. 5; Ps. ix. 15," HiTZio. Many MSS., moreover, exhibit here the regular form ."jj^n 
"rBoTTCHEE, 2 888, n. 2, utterly rejects the possibility that TJ^'1 can be a singular form, and also that the plural form ia 

admissible here. Holben'.s renderinj, 'thy friends," is incorrectly based upon the plural reading.— A.]. 

A'er. 8. [Note the appropriate change of teuse. The future TDi^. " ^ie7is solitum," BoTT. ? 943, h, and the perf. 

-J-, jj^^ "Perfectum effectivum," ? ? 940, 4 ; 950, 4 ; the continually recurring « preparation," the ensured " gathering."— A.] 

^ Xer. 12. "nSn stands here with the simple accusative without 3, as in Mic. ii. 11; Is. xxxiii. 15 ; Pa. xv. 2. 

Ver. 13. [V'^ip i^sed here alone with 3, usually with a direct object. SVlO ; the verb is in use only in Piel. For 

the occurrence of participial forms in Piel tlius resembling Kal, see Fuerst (sub. v. SSo), and BolT. § 994, 4.— A.]. 

Ver 14. For the explanation . t tac K'ri DTIO (instead of the K'thibh D'JTD) see HiTZia on this passage, who 

• T : * ' T : 

is nrobablv right in referring to O.-n. xxxvii. 36 as llie source and occasion of this substitution. 

\er. 16. [The fern. niH used of tliat which is distinctly neuter. See Bott. § 862, 4.— A.]. 

Ver. 19. The n'3' cTm be regarded as a relative Imperf., with which the participle Vhp^ interchanges, or it may 
be regarded as an Irregular participial form, lengthened from HS'^ fs. xxvii. 12, and formed like N^r, S'tpj, etc. 

CHAP. VI. 1-35. 


(So HiTzio explains the form) [Fuerst regards it an Imperf., but Bott., very decidedly as a Hiph. participal, here and in xii. 
i7 ; xiv. 25; xix. 5, 9; Ps. xii. 6; xxvii. 12. See ^ 994, 9.— A.]. 

Vfir. 21. 1 [mcyp, a masc. suffix referring to fern, nouns. Bott. § 877, 3, declares it characteristic of "secular prose, 

popular poetry, aiid the majority of the later Hebrew writers " thus to disregard exactness in the use of the suffix pro- 
nouns. Chap. XX. 12 is the only similar example adduced from Proverbs. Comp. Green, g 104, g. — A.]. 

Ver. 32. iTnti'O a future participle. The suffix in T\W}}^ refers to tua ^'SNJ which is readily supplied from the 
ntJ'X IXJ of the first member. [Interpretations divide as to the Eubject anil predicate clause of the sentence. 

MuENSOHEE, Notes, IIolden agree with the E. V. m making destruction the predicted fate of the adulterer ; Stoart, 
Kamph., and De W. agree with our author in makin^j acKiltery the natural and certain course ut the self-Jestroyer. — A.]. 


1. The sixth chapter consists of four indepen- 
dent admonitory discourses of unequal length, of 
quite different contents, and a merely external 
and circumstantial connection (through points of 
contact, as between "sleep and slumber" in 
ver. 4 and the same expressions in ver. 10 ; 
through the triple warning against impoverish- 
ment: vers. 11, 15 and 26, etc.). -This is as ap- 
parent as is the fact that it is only in the last of 
these four sections that the subject of adultery, 
that was treated in the fifth chapter, is re.sumed. 
It is nevertheless arbitrary and lacks all clear 
proof, when HiTzia declares the three preceding 
sections to be the addition of an interpolator 
different from the author of chaps, i.-ix., who is 
supposed to have taken them from some old book 
of proverbs, and to have enlarged the third by 
adding vers. 10-19. For, it is argued, this nu- 
merical group of proverbs, of eight members, 
clearly shows itself to be the personal production 
of the interpolator, who was led by the sixfold 
division of the categories in vers. 12-14 to the 
composition of this group of the six things that 
the Lord hates. As though this parallel sixfold 
or rather sevenfold arrangement in vers. 12-19 
could not be the work of the composer of the en- 
tire group of proverbial discourses that lies be- 
fore us, just as in the series of similar numerical 
proverbs contained in chap. xxx. (comp. Introd. 
§ 14) ! And still further, as if there had not, been 
already in what has gone before at least one iso- 
lated warning against unchastity and adultery, 
as a demonstration of the fact, that in this, con- 
nection also the advisory and admonitory dis- 
courses that relate to this matter (cluxp. v. 1 sq.; 
vi. 20 sq.; vii. 1 sq.), must not necessarily form 
a whole continuing without interruption, but 
might very naturally be interspersed with other 
shorter passages of differing contents, like those 
forming the first half of chap, vi.i — Apart from 
this, HiTziG is undoubtedly correct in judging, 
that attention should be called to the close con- 
nection of vers. 16-19 with vers. 12-15, and that 
the first mentioned group should be regarded as 
a mei'e continuation and fuller expansion of the 
import of the last mentioned. A special argument 
for this is the literal repetition of the expression, 
"stir up strifes," from ver. 14 in ver. 19. The 
view recently prevalent (see e. tff., Umbreit, 
Bertheau, Elster on this passage), according 
to which vers. 16-19 form a separate group of 
verses as really independent as the rest (1-5, 6- 
11, etc.) is to be estimated by what has been al- 
ready said. The correal division has been before 
presented by Delitzsch (Herzog's Real. Enci/cl. 
XIV., 698), and also by Ewald (on this pas- 

' 2. Vers. 1-5. Warning against suretyship. — 
dKy son, if thou hast become surety for 
thy neighbor. — The frequent warnings which 
our book contains against giving security for 
others (comp. in addition xi. 15; xvii. 18; xx. 16; 
xxii. 26), are to be explained doubtless by the 
severe treatment, which, in accordance with the 
old Hebrew jurisprudence, was awarded to sure- 
ties ; for their goods might be distrained or they 
even sold as slaves, just as in the case of insolvent 
debtors (2 Kings iv. 1 ; Matth. xviii. 25 ; comp. 
Ecclesiast. viii. 13; xxix. 18-25, and also the 
warning maxim of the Greek philosopher Thales: 
'■'■Eyyiia, wdpa d'ara'^ [gi've surety, and ruin is 
near], and the modern popular proverb '■'■Bargen 
soil man wiirgen" [the alliteration cannot be 
translated ; an approach can be made to it in 
" worry a surety "]. — In the passage before us 
the warning is not so much against suretyship in 
general, as merely against the imprudent assump- 
tion of such obligations, leaving out of account 
the moral unreliableness of the man involved ; 
and the counsel is to the quickest possible release 
from every obligation of this kind that may have 
been hastily assumed. — Hast given thine 
hand to a stranger. — The stranger (1i) is not 

the creditor, but the debtor, who in the first 
clause had been designated as "neighbor." For 
according to Job xvii. 3 the surety gave his hand 
to the debtor as a sign that he became bound 
for him. Therefore the translation of Ewald 
and Elster, "for a stranger," is unnecessary as 
it is incorrect. — Ver. 2. If thou art entangled 
through the words of thy mouth. — This 
second half of the protasis, which, according to 
Hebrew idiom, is still dependent on the "if" of 
ver. 1, refers to the involved and embarrassed 
condition of the surety some time after his in- 
considerate giving of bonds. — Ver. 3. Then do 
this, my son, etc — The apodosis, with its em- 
phatic warning (which extends through ver. 5), 
is fitly introduced by the intensive particle 
N1£3X, now, now therefore. Comp. Job xvii. 15 ; 
Gen. xxvii. 32; xliii. 11. — Since thou hast 
come into the hand of thy neighbor. 
HiTZiG, interpreting the "'3, as in ii. 10, as equi- 
valent to DX, translates "if thou hast come," etc. 
But the introduction of a reason is here more 
pertinent, since the case of an unfortunate issue 
to the suretyship had alrcadj' been assumed in 
ver. 2. — Stamp vrith the foot. — This meaning 
of DDTiin, which is attested also by Ps. Ixviii. 30, 
is urgently commended by the following, " impor- 
tune thy neighbor " {^"y"} ^ni). [In our ver- 
sion of this phrase in its connection we have 
substituted Fcterst's interpretation which is also 
Holden's. The verb is found only here and in 
Ps. Ixviii. 30. Gesenius and many others, start- 



ing with the radical idea, " to trample," which 
they find in t^3"^ and assume in D31, translate 
the Hitlip. in both passages, "suffer thyself to 
be trampled," i. «., "prostrate thyself." [So 
the E. v., De W., M., N. and St.]. Hupfelb 
(see Comm. on Ps. Ixviii. 31) and others adopt 
the indirect reflexive as the true meaning, — 
"prostrate before thyself, i.e., subdue." Fuerst, 
distinguishing the two verbs, interprets Di31 as 
meaning, in accordance with many Arabic ana- 
logies, "to move, stir, hasten," and the Ilithp. 
as meaning "«,'cA becilen, sich spulcji," i. e., in the 
Imperative, make haste, bestir thyself. Although 
this rendering has not in its favor the weight of 
authorities, the internal evidence appears to us 
to be decidedly for it. — A.] The meaning is that 
one should in every way force the heedless 
debtor — for it is he, and not possibly the creditor, 
that is here again intended by the "neighbor " — 
to the fulfilment of his obligations, before it is 
too late, i. e., before the matter comes to the dis- 
traint of goods or other judicinl processes on the 
part of the creditor. — Ver. 5. Free thyself as 
a roe from his hand, and like a bird, etc. — 
Gazelle and bird — in the original a paronomasia: 
OV and TIDi* — are appropriate emblems of a cap- 
tive seeking its freedom with anxious haste and 
exertion. The way is already prepared for these 
figures by the expressions employed in ver. 2. 
Instead of, T'O "out of the hand," all the old 
versions, except the Vulg. and Venet., had the 
reading r\i30, " out of the snare." But this is an 
attempt at rhetorical improvement (perhaps ac- 
cording to tiie analogy of Ps. xci. 3), "in which 
it was overlooked, that the hand was introduced 
the first as well as the second time with a refer- 
ence to the giving of the hand on becoming se- 
curity " (ver. 1). Conip. Umbreit and Hixzia 
on this passage. 

3. Vers. 6-11. Go to the ant, thou slug- 
gard. — The ant, ever working of its own impulse 
quietly and unweariedly, is proverbial as an 
emblem of industry, both among Orientals and 
in the West; conip. Meidaxi's Arahic Proverbs, 
III., 4G8; .Saadi's Persian fable of the ant and 
the nightingale ; Aristotle's Historia Anim., 9, 
26; Virgil's Georg.,\., 186 sq.; Horace, Serm., 
I., 1,33; also the German word ^^amsiff" (Old 
High Germ, cmaztc), which is derived from 
^'Ameiie" (Weigand, dcutsches Worterb.,\., 2>b). 
[See Thomson's Land and Book, I., 519, 520, for 
illustrations both of the diligence of the ant and 
the utter laziness of Oriental laborers, "which 
have no governor, director, or ruler." — A.] — Ver. 
7. Which hath no governor, director or 

ruler. — The three expressions "i'D "^^V and 7^0 
are relatively like the Arabic otticial titles, 
<«Kadi," "Wali,"and "Emir." The "Wit in par- 
ticular is the manager, the overseer, who, e. g., in 
connection with public works urges on to labor 
(Ex. V. 6, 14 sq.). — Furthermore, compare chap. 
XXX. 27, where also the first clause of ver. 8 re- 
curs, in almost literal agreement with our passage. 
Vers. 9-11 add to tbe positive admonition to 
industry an emphatic warning against the evil 
consequences of its opposite. — How long 
wilt thou lie, O sluggard ?— Literally : till 

when wilt thou, etc. The 'fiO^n^* of the first 
clause and TI^D of the second stand in the same or- 

- T _ 

der as in Nehem. ii. 6. The meaning of the two 
parallel questions is substantially "Wilt thoucon- 
tinue lying forever ? — Wilt thou never rise ?" The 
double question is, as it were, a logical protasis to 
the apodosis which follows in ver. 11 after the in- 
terposingof thesluggard'sanswer (ver.lO): "then 
Cometh (Heb. N3-1) like a robber," etc. Comp, 
Bertheau on this passage. — A little sleep, etc. 
— Ironical imitation of the language of the lazy 
man; Hi orally repeated in chap. xxiv. .33. — A 
little folding of the hands — /. e., a little fold- 
ing of the arms, a well-known attitude of one who 
is settling himself down to sleep (comp. Eccl. iv. 
5), and who in tliat act does just the opposite of 
that for which the hands and arms are naturally 
designed, that is, for vigorous work. — Then 

Cometh thy poverty like a robber. — ^vl'j"? 

strictly grassator, a frequenter of the roads, a 
highwayman, .a footpad (LXX : KaKu^ oSoiTzopoq). 
The parallel passage, xxiv. 34, has the Hithp. 

participle ^bnnfD without 2, which gives the far 
weakersense : " thencometh quietb/ thy poverty." 
— As an armed man — lit., as one armed with 
a shield (JJO t^'N) ; for even the assailing rob- 
ber, since he must necessarily be prepared for 
resistance, must carry with weapons of offence 
the means of defence. 

4. Vers. 12-19. Against the deceitful and 
violent. — Concerning the relation of the two 
divisions of this group of verses, the first of which 
(vers. 12-15) depicts the seven modes of deceitful 
action, while the second (vers. 16-19) expressly 
designates them a seven hated by God, repeating 
also their enumeration, — see above, | 1 of these 
exegotical comments. — A worthless man is 
the deceiver. — In support of this construction 

of pN t^^'X as the subject and of the prefixed 

Sj.'^b3 DHX as the predicate [a construction pre- 
ferred also by Notes, Kamph. etc.'\ we have, be- 
sides the arrangement, especially the substitution 
of 13 mx for 13 ty'N, which was rather to have 

TT * 

been expected according to the analogy of 2 Sam. 
xvi. 7, etc. If the second expression were only 
" an intensive appositive to the first" (Bertheau ; 
see also Luther [Wordsw., M., St., H., in agree- 
ment with the E. V.] : "a heedless man, a mis- 
chievous person"), then we should have looked 
for t^'X in both instances. With JIX U/'X, "man 
of deceit, of falsity, of inward untruth and vile- 
ness," comp. furthermore jlX ""/lO, Job xxii. 15; 
and also, below, ver. 18.— He that walketh 
in perverseness of speech. — Comp. iv. 24 ; 
xxviii. 18. — Ver. 13. The three participles of thia 
verse are best understood, with Hitzig, as 
prefixed appositives to the subject contained in 

isba, ver. 14, which is inJeed the same as that 
of the 12th verse. — "Who winketh with his 
eyes. — Comp. x. 10; Ps. xxxv. 19. — Who 
speaketh with his ffeet — i. e., gives signs in 
mysterious ways (LXX : cijunivn), now with one 
foot, then with the other. — Who hinteth with 

CHAP. VI. 1-35. 


his fingers. — H^ID Ilipli. part, from ni'', here 
used ill its most primitive meaning. The evil 
intent, involved in the three forms of the language 
of signs as here ennmerated is of course implied. 
— Ver. 14. He deviseth evil at all times. — 
Comp. iii. 29. — He stirreth up strife. — Lite- 
rally "he lets loose contentions" (IIitzig), or 
"he throws out matters of dispute" (Bertheau); 
comp. ver. 19 and chap. xvi. 28. — Ver. 15. 
Therefore suddenly shall his destruction 
come — Comp. i. 17; iii. 25; xxiv. 22. — 
Quickly will he be destroyed, ^('c— Comp. 
xxix. 1 ; Is. i. 28; xxx. 14; Jer. xix. 11. — 
Without remedy. — Comp. iv. 22. 

Ver. 1(1. These six things Jehovah hateth, 
and seven, clc. — Of the origin of this peculiar 
proverbial form, using symbolical numbers, a form 
for which Arabic and Persian gnomic literatuie 
supply numerous illustrations (comp. Umbrkit on 
this passage), Elster probably gives the simplest 
and most correct explanation, deriving it "purely 
from the exigencies of parallelism." " The form 
of parallelism could not, on account of harmony, 
be sacrificed in any verse. But how should a 
parallel be found for a number ? Since it was 
not any definite number that was the important 
thing, relief was found by taking one of the next 
adjacent numbers as the parallel to that which 
was chiefly in mind." In a similar way Hitzig 
on Amos i. 3 (where the numbers put into this 
relation are three and four) ; " To the number 
three the number four is appended to characterize 
the first as one optionally taken, to convey the ide.a 
that there are not understood to be precisely three and 
no more, but possibly more.'" At any rate, those 
expositors are in the wrong, who, as e. g., re- 
cently Bertheau and Von Gerlach, find the 
design of this mode of numeration in the fact 
that the last of the enumerated elements, the 
seventh vice therefore in the case before us, is 
to be brought out with especial emphasis. [Stan- 
ley [Ili^t. Jewish Church, II. p. 258), adduces this 
as a probable example of the "enigmas" or 
"riddles," which were one of the most charac- 
teristic emboiliments of the wisdom of the wise 
king. — Arnot : There is one parallel well worthy 
of notice between the seven cursed tilings here, 
and the seven blessed things in the fifth chapter 
of Matthew. The first and last of the seven are 
identical in the two lists. "The Lord hates a 
proud look" is precisely equivalent to "blessed 
are the poor in spirit;" and "he that sowcth 
discord among brethren" is the exact converse of 
the " peacemaker." — A.]. — Ver. 17. Haughty 
eyes: literally, high or lofty eyes; comp. xxx. 
13; Ps. xviii. 27; cxxxi. 1; .Job xxi. 22; xl. 11; 
also the Latin expression grande supercilium. — 
Hands that shed innocent blood. Comp. 
i. 11 sq., and Isa. lix. 7, with wliicli passage 
ver. 18 :ilso corresponds in the form of expres- 
sion, without for that reason being necessarily 
derived from it, as Hitzig holds. For in case 
of such derivation the order of words ought to 
correspond more exactly with the alleged ori- 
ginal, as in Rom. iii. 15-17. — Ver. 19. One 
that uttereth lies as a false witness, literal- 
ly, one that breathes lies. The same characteri- 
zation of the false witness is found also in chap, 
siv. 5, 25; xix. 5, 9. As respects the arrange- 
ment in which the seven manifestations of treach- 

erous dealing are ennmerated in these verses, it 
does not perlectly correspond with the order ob- 
served in ver. 12-14. There the series is mouth, 
eyes, feet, fingers, heart, devising evil counsels, 
stirring up strifes; here it is eyes, tongue, 
hands, heart, feet, speaking lies, instigating 
strife. With reference to the organs whicii are 
named as the instruments in the first five forms 
of treacherous wickedness, in the second enu- 
meration an order is adopted involving a regu- 
lar descent (ver. lG-19, eyes, tongue, hands, 
etc.) ; the base disposition to stir up strife, or to 
let loose controversy (see rem. on ver. 14) in 
both cases ends the series. 

5. Vers. 20-24. Admonition to chastity, prepar- 
ing the way for a subsequent warning against 
adultery. — Keep, O my son, thy fatlier's 
commandmsnt, etc. This general introduc- 
tion to the new warning against adultei-y corre- 
sponds with the similar preparatory admonitions 
in chap. v. 1, 2 and vii. 1-5, and serves, like 
these, to announce the great importance of the 
succeeding warnings. With respect to ver. 20 in 
p.irticul ir comp. i. 8. — Ver. 21. Bind them to 
thy heart evermore, etc. So chap. iii. 3 and 
vii. 3. On account of the plural which occurs 
in the verse, with which the singular is inter- 
changed in ver. 22, Hitzig conjectures the inser- 
tion of this verse by .a late interpolator, and that 
in accordance with the standard furnished by 
chap. iii. 3, in which place the passage is held 
to be original. This is arbitrary, for no single 
ancient munusc'ript or version confirms the sus- 
picion. Just as well might ver. 22 be declared 
interpolated, inasmuch as only in this is the 
singular form found, while immediately after, in 
ver. 23, the double designation " coinmandnK-nt" 
and " doctrine" returns. — Ver. 22. When thou 
walkest let it guide thee. The contrast 
between walking and sleeping or lying is like 
that in iii. 23, 24. — When thou wakest let 
it talk with thee. The accusative suffix in 
■"in't^n is here employed as in Ps. v. 4 ; xlii. 4 ; 
Zech. vii. 5, etc., for the designation of the per- 
son to whom the intercourse indicated in the 
action of the verb relates. With regard to n'ty 
to take, to converse, comp. also Ps. Ixix. 13 ; with 
reference to the sentence as a whole comp. Ps. 
cxxxix. 18. — Ver. 23. For the reproofs of 
correction are a w^ay of life, /. c. they lead 
to life, cump. ii. 19; iii. 2, 1(3. "Reproofs of dis- 
cipline" (1DO mnDlj^) corrective reproofs, re- 
proofs whose aim is correction. — Ver. 24. Prom 
the vile woman, strictly the woman of evil, 
of vileness. J^l (for which the LXX here read 
j^^l) is therefore a substantive, as in the phrase 
"the way of evil" in chap. ii. 12. — From the 
flattering tongue of the strange woman ; 
literally, from the smoothness of the tongue of 

the strange woman. For instead of 111^7, from 

I T _ 

which reading of the Masoretic text the meaning 
would result " from the smoothness of a strange 

tongue," we must doubtless point jity/ {construct 
state), since the subject of remark here is the 
strange, wanton woman (just as in ii. 1(J ; v. 20), 
while the thought of a foreign language [y/.tjaaij 



a'Alorpia, LXX) is altogether remote from the 
context. la opposition to the transhition of 
EwALU, Bertueau aud El.steu, "from the 
smooth-tougued, the sti-ange woman," comp. HiT- 
ziG on this passage. 

6. Ver. 2-3-y5. Warning against adultery itself. 
— With her eyelids, with which she throws 
amorous and captivating glances at her lover, 
comp. Ecclesiast. xxvi. 9. The eyelids (or, more 
literally, eyelashes) are here compared with the 
cords of a net, as in Eceles. xii. iJ, with the lattice 
of a window, or as in the orotic songs of the Arabs 
aud Persians, with darts, with lances, daggers or 
swords. — Ver. 2i). For, for the sake of a harlot 
one Cometh to a loaf of bread, i. e., to the last 
bit, the last morsel of bread, as a sign and emblem 
of utter poverty (thus Sohultens, C. B. Mi- 
CHAELis, Umbiieit, Elster); or again, the mean- 
ing may be to the begging a loaf of bread, to 
beggary (thus Abe.\ Ezra, Vatablus, Rosen- 
MUELLER, Elster, Hitzig). In opposition to 
the translation defended by most of the ancient 
expositors, and recently by Ziegler, Ewald, 
Bertueau, etc., " For as the hire of a harlot one 
gives hardly a bit of bread." or as others prefer 
"merely a bit of bread," may be adduced 1) the 
context, see the 2d clause; 2) the lexical fact 
that n>* can neither mean "hardly" nor "mere- 
ly;" 3) the fact, historical and archreological, 
established by Gen. xxxviii. 17, etc., that the 
harlot's reward in ancient Palestine doubtless 
amounted to more than a mere loaf of bread, e. g. 
a kid, as in the case cited from Genesis, or a 
price considerably higher, as seems to follow 
from Prov. xxix. 3 ; Ecclesiast. ix. 6 ; Luke 
XV. 30. — Lieth in -wait for the precious life. 
Very appropriately has K'pJ, "life," the predicate 
mp'' "costly" connected with it; for its value 


rises above all mere property; comp. Ps. xlix. 8. 
— Ver. 27-29. The meaning is this: impossible as 
it is that the clothing on one's breast, or that one"s 
feet should remain unharmed by scorching if fire 
be brought near them, so inconceivable is it 
that the adulterer should follow his unlawful 
intercourse without evil consequences and just 
retribution. The two questions in vers. 27, 28 
imply a strong negation, like the interrogative 
olauses in Amos iii. 4-6. Ver. 29 is connected 
with the two negative antecedent clauses as a 
correlative consequent, and is therefore intro- 
duced by |Jp, so. — Vers. 30, 31. A new figure to 
illustrate the punishment, surely impending and 
severe, which threatens the adulterer. — Men 
do not overlook the thief, etc. ; literally 
" ihey do not contemn it in the thief." The im- 
perf. ^ii3' expresses the idea of custom, that 
which occurs in accordance with experience. 
[Interpreters are divided between the two ideas 
of "scorn" aud "disregard" as proper render- 
ings of the verb. Siuakt, Mue.vsch., Words. 
adopt the former ; men do not despise the tliief, 
though he must be punished; they do despise 
the adulterer. WuKi>s. calls attention to a dis- 
position in modern society to reverse this judg- 
ment. Notes, IIoluen, like De W., Fuerst and 
our author, adopt the other view. — A.]. — To 
satisfy his craving when he is hungry. 
This circumstance, which exhibits the guilt of the 

thief in a milder light, serves evidently to dis- 
play the punishment that befalls the adulterei" 
with whom he is here compared, as one more 
richly deserved. For the more presumptuous 
his crime, the less excused, or, as it were, de- 
manded by his necessities, the more just is the 
punishment that comes upon him ! If Hitzio 
had taken due notice of this meaning of ver. 30, 
which is transparent enough, he would have 
seen in advance how unnecessary aud excessively 
artificial is the attempt to explain the verse as 
interrogative. [Kamph. adopts his view but 
does not strengthen it]. — He must restore 
sevenfold. According to the prescriptions of 
the law in Ex. xxi. 37 ; xxii. 1 sq., it should 
strictly be only four orfivefold (comp. the publican 
Zaccheus, Luke xix. 8). But in common life 
these prescriptions were probably not ordinarily 
observed: the injured party allowing his silence, 
his declining a judicial prosecution of the mat- 
ter, to be purchased at a higher rate than was 
exactly allowed. Furthermore, that " sevenfold" 
is here used loosely, only as a round number 
(comp. Gen. iv. 15), and is not designed, as might 
be thought, to mark the highest conceivable 
ransom, appears from the 2d member, which 
suggests the probability of losing "the whole 
wealth of his house." — Ver. 32 stands in the 
same relation to the two preceding as ver. 29 to 
27 and 28; it expresses the conclusion that is to 
be drawn from the meaning, which is clothed in 
the form of an analogy or parable, with refer- 
ence to the well-deserved recompense of the 
adulterer. It is therefore hasty and arbitrary 
in IliTZiG to reject this as a spurious gloss, and 
to find in ver. 33 the direct continuation of the 
thief's punishment, which has been depicted in 
ver. 31. — He that destroyeth himself doeth 
such things. Literally, "whoso will destroy 
his life, he does it." — Ver. 33. Stripes and 
disgrace. The i'JJ, plac/a, may here very well 
stand in its literal sense, and so designate the 
blows with which the adulterer detected in the act 
will be visited by the husband of the unfaithful 
wife, and will be driven from the house (Ujibreit, 
Hitzig). — Ver. 34. For jealousy is man's 
fierce anger, i. e., the jealousy (nXJp as in 
chap, xxvii. 4) of the injured husband is a fire 
blazing fiercely, burning and raging with all the 
might of a man ; comp. " the hurling of a man " 
[or as others "a mighty prostration"'] Is. xxii. 
17. The 2d half of the verse explains this 
somewhat brief expression, "man's wrath," 
which, moreover, appears to be chosen not with- 
out collateral reference to the more rapidly 
evaporating wrath of women. — Ver. 35. He re- 
gardeth not any ransom, litei-ally, "he does 
not lift up the face of any ransom," i. e., does not 
receive it as adequate to allay his wrath — as one 
lifts up the face of a suppliant when his request 
is granted or favorably received. — And is not 
willing, i. €., to forego his strict right of re- 


1. The warning against improvident surety^- 
ship iu the unqu.iiified form, and the urgent and 
almost passionate tone iu which it is presented 

CHAP. VI. 1-35. 


in vers. 1-5, rests upou the consideration that 
"all men are liars" (Ps. cxvi. 11 ; Rom. iii. 4), 
that therefore no one can be trusted (comp. Jer. 
xvii. 5: "Cursed be the man that trustcth in 
man"), that every neighbor is at the same time 
in a certain sense a " stranger" to us (see above 
on ver. 1), in a word, that one must be prepared 
for manifestations of unfaithfulness, or unrelia- 
bleness, on the part of any one whatever, though 
he stood ever so near us. Hence tlie duty, for 
the salve of preserving one's own independence 
and sparing one's own strength for his personal 
worli (bodily as well as mental), of extricating 
one's self at any cost and as speedily as possible 
from evei-y relation of suretyship, from the con- 
tinuance of which injurious consequences might 
result to our own freedom and welfare. With 
the admonitions of our Lord in the Sermon on 
the Mount, to be ready at all times for the lend- 
ing and giving away of one's property, even in 
cases where one cannot hope for the recovery of 
what has been given out (Luke vi. 30, 31, 3(j ; 
comp. 1 Cor. vi. 7) this demand is not in conflict. 
For Christ also plainly demands no such readi- 
ness to suffer loss on account of our neighbor, 
as would deprive us of personal liberty, and rob 
us of all means for further beneficence ; and yet 
this sort of evil result from suretyship is what 
the author of our passage has in his eye. 

2. Also in the subsequent warning against 
slothfulness (vers. G-11) the reference to the 
danger of impoverishment appears to be the 
main motive, brought forward with especial 
emphasis. This is above all things else the pre- 
cise thing to be learned from the example of the 
ant, that it is important to gather diligently "in 
summer," that one may not suffer in winter, — 
that the "harvest time," when all is within 
reach in abundance, is the time for earnest and 
unceasing toils, that one may be able calmly to 
meet the later seasons of want which offer to the 
most willing and vigorous industry no opportu- 
nity for acquiring. Comp. the example of Joseph 
in Egypt (Gen. xli. sq.), and apply all this to 
the spiritual department of labors in Christ's 
service, e. g., those of the pastor, the missionary, 

3. The six or seven vices, twice enumerated 
in different order and form of expression, against 
which the paragraph vers. 12-19 warns (comp. 
the exegetical notes on ver. 19), are at the same 
time all of them manifestations of hatred against 
one's neighbor, or sins against the second table 
of the Decalogue ; yet it is not so much a gene- 
ral unkindness as rather an unkindness consist- 
ing and displaying itself in falseness and malice 
that is emphasized as their common element. 
And only on account cf the peculiarly mischiev- 
ous and ruinous character of just these sins of 
hatred to one's neighbor, is he who is subject to 
them represented as an object of especially in- 
tense abhorrence on the part of a holy God, and 
as threatened with the strongest manifestations 
of His anger in penalties (vers. 15, 16). 

4. As a fundamental proposition for the suc- 
cessful avoidance of all converse with impure 
wantons, and of the dangers thence resulting, 
there is introduced in the 1st clause of ver. 25 a 
warning even against the very first beginnings , 
of all unlawful sexual intercourse, against im- \ 

pure longings, or unchaste desires and thoughts of 
the heart. Comp. the last commandment of the 
Decalogue (Ex. xx. 17), as well as Christ's inten- 
sifying and spiritualizing of the Mosaic prohibi- 
tion of adultery ; Matih. v. 28. — The admunitioa 
also, which is prefixed as introductory, to keep 
continually before the eyes and in the heart the 
teachings of Divine wisdom (comp. Tob. iv. 6), 
serves as an emphatic utterance of this ''Obsta 
pnnc/piis !" or the exhibition of the necessity 
that the very first germs and roots of the sin of 
unchastity must be rooted out. 


In the endeavor to comprehend in one homi- 
letic whole the four main divisions of the chap- 
ter, one would first of all need to have clearly ia 
view the suggestions given in vers. 2, 11, 15 and 
20 sq., with reference to the danger of sinking 
into poverty and destitution, and to employ these 
in fixing his central idea. In some such way as 
this then: Even in the present life want and evil 
of every sort are wont to be the attendants a) of 
the lighter offences 1) of inconsiderateness (vers. 
1-5) and 2) of slothfulness (vers. 0-11); b) of 
the grosser transgressions and vices, such as re- 
sult 1) from pride and malignity (vers. 12-19), 
and 2) from lust of the eyes and sensuality (vers. 
20-'5). — Comp. SxiicKEii: Against unfaithfulness 
in life and conversation, as it displays itself 1) ia 
suretyship; 2) in fulfilling the duties of one's 
calling: 3) in daily converse with human society; 
4) in married life. 

Ver. 1-5. Starke: A teacher of the divine 
word becomes in a certain sense a surety to God 
for the souls of his hearers (Ezek. iii. 18) ; there- 
fore must he watch over them day and night, that 
none be lost through fault of his (Acts xx. 28). — 
J. Lange : In Christ our friend we have a faith- 
ful surety who can and will free us from all our 
debt. — AVoHLFARTH : From credulity to put at 
risk one's property, to which one's children have 
' the first claim, and which one should emploj' only 
for the general good, and thereby to give an im- 
pulse to the follies and sins of others, is quite 
as ruinous as it is morally blameworthy. 

Ver. 0-11. Melanchthon : Diligence is the 
virtue by which we are disposed steadfastly 
and firmly for God's sake, and the common welfare, 
to perform the labors belonging to our calling, 
with the aid of God, who has promised aid to those 
that seek it. The extremes of this virtue are in- 
dolence and a busy ofliciousness [tio7ivtz pay fioavv)]). 
The indolent omits too much; the ofBcious, either 
from excess of ardor, undertakes many things 
that are not necessary, or undertakes by-works 
[rcdpep^a) and interferes with others' vocations,"' 
etc. — Egard: God will not support thee without 
work, but by work; that is His holy ordinance 
(Gen. iii. 19). Do thy part, and God will do 
His. ... To know how rightly to employ time 
and opportunity is great wisdom. Gather in 
summer that thou mayest have in winter ; gather 
in youth that thou mayest have in old age I — Ber- 
leb. Bible: Where the ways of Christianity 
are not directed in accordance with the perfect 
law of liberty (.James i. 25) and according to the 
impulse of the Spirit of God. but according to any 
human constitution, there men go more foolishly 


to work than the ants in their labor. — [Trait : 
They are utterly out that think to have the plea- 
sure of idleness, and the plenty of paiufulness]. 
Vers. 12-19. Egard: A proud heart has never 
done anything specially for God's honor and a 
neighbor's good; through humble hearts God 
does great things. — Starke : The evil heart can- 
not long be hidden ; it soon shows itself in evil 
gestures, words and deeds. — (On ver. 18) : The 
heart underlies the 'seven vices which are an 
abomination to God, and in the midst, because it 
is the fountain from which evil flows in all direc- 
tions (Matth. xii. 34, 35; xv. ID). The Lord 
therefore hates not only the actual outbreakings 
of sins, but also the devices of the ungodly with 
which they encompass day and night. — (On ver. 
16sq. ): Eyes, hands, tongue, heart, feet, are in 
themselves good and well-pleasing to God ; but 
when they turn from the path of virtue and in- 
cline to vice, then they are evil and cannot please 
God. — Woulfarth : Before the Lord proud eyes, 
false tongues, guilty hands, etc., cannot stand. 
His hand lays hold upon all such transgressors 
according to the holy law according to which 
every kind of evil finds its penalty. — [Ver. 16, 
17. W. Bates : Pride is in the front of those sins 
which God hates, and are an abomination to 
Him. Pride, like an infectious disease, taints 

the sound parts, corrupts the actions of every 
virtue, and deprives them of their true grace and 
glory. — J. Edwards : It is vain for any to pre- 
tend that they are humble, and as little children 
before God, when they are haughty, impudent, 
and assuming in their behavior amongst men.] 

Vers. 20-35. Stocker (on ver. 25) : Solomon 
here warns chiefly against the things by which 
one may be enticed into adulteiy, namely 1) 
against evil desire and lust in the heart ; 2) 
against wanton, over-curious eyes. — Starke (on 
ver. 25): Since evil lusts spring up in the heart, 
Solomon would have us at the very beginning 
stop up the fountains, i. e., suppress the very first 
instigations of corrupt flesh and blood (James i. 
14, 15). For it is always more diflicult to extin- 
guish sparks already existing than to guard 
against the heart's receiving any. — Von Ger- 
lach (on vers. 34, 35) : The fearful rage of the 
jealous husband grows out of the deep feeling 
that the wife is one with her husband, a part of 
him, whose worth cannot be counterbalanced by 
any possession however great, outside of him. — 
Comp. J. Laxge: Just as little as the adulterer 
taken in his adultery is left unpunished by the 
injured husband, so little, yea even less will the 
spiritual adulterer remain unpunished of the 
Lord (1 Cor. iii. 17). 

13. New admonition to chastity, with a reference to the warning example of a youth led astray 

by a harlot. 

Chap. VIL 1-27. 

1 My son, keep my -words, 

and treasure up my commandments with thee. 

2 Keep my commandments and thou shalt live — 
and my instruction as the apple of thine eye. 

3 Bind them to thy fingers, 

write them on the tablet of thine heart. 

4 Say to wisdom "Thou art my sister !" 
and call understanding " acquaintance," 

5 that they may keep thee from the strange woman, 
from the stranger that fiattereth with her words. — ■ 

6 For through the window of my house, 
through my lattice I looked out, 

7 and I saw among the inexperienced ones, 

discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding. 

8 He passed along the street near her corner, 
and sauntered along the way to her house, 

9 in the twilight, in the evening of the day, 
in the midst of the night and darkness. 

10 And lo, a woman cometh to meet him, 

in the attire of a harlot, and subtle in heart. 

11 Boisterous was she, and ungovernable; 
her feet would not tarry in her house; 

12 now in the street, now in the market places, 
and at every corner did she watch. 

CHAP. VII. 1-27. 


13 And she laid hold upon him, and kissed him, 
put on a bold face and said to him, 

14 " Thankofferings were (binding) upon me, 
to-day have I redeemed my vows; 

15 therefore came I out to meet thee, 

to seek thy face, and I have found thee. 

16 Tapestries have I spread upon my couch, 
variegated coverlets of E jyptian linen ; 

17 I have sprinkled my couch 
with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. 

18 Come, let us sate ourselves with love till morning, 
and enjoy ourselves in love! 

19 For the man is not at home, 
he has gone a long journey ; 

20 the purse he has taken with him ; 

not till the day of the full moon will he return." 

21 She beguiled him with the multitude of her enticements, 
by the allurements of her lips she led him astray. 

22 He followed her at once, 

as an ox goeth to the slaughter, 

and as fetters (serve) for the correction of fools — 

23 till an arrow pierceth his liver: — 
as a bird hasteneth to the snare, 

and knoweth not that his life is at stake. — 

24 And now, ye children, hearken to me, 
and observe the words of my mouth ! 

25 Let not thine heart incline to her ways, 
and stray not into her paths. 

26 For many slain hath she caused to fall 
and all her slain are many. 

27 Ways of hell (is) her house 

going down to the chambers of death. 


Ver. 7. [nj'SX, the ) consec. omitted, as is sometimes the case, the form resembling a simple Intentional. 6b- 

T ■ T 

SEX. Lehrijeh. p. 874., BiJTT. ^ ? 9(39, 6; 973, 5. Stuaut (coram, in loc.) seems to be in error in regarding this a real volim- 
tative, and rendering " that I might see among the simple, and observe, etc." — A.]. 

Vers. 8. [For the form HiJD instead of the full form n^i/D (with the ordinary form of fem. nouns with suff,), se» 

T • T T • 

BoTT. § 724, 5. Coinp. however Exegetical notes in regard to the proper reading. — A.]. 

Ver. 11. [.UDl?', use J of repeated recurrence in the past — Fiens multiplex pneteriti according to the terminology of 

BoTT. ?949,/.— A.] 

Ver. lo. In the verb nT^'H (lit., she made hard, corroioratu'i) the doubling of the 2d radical is omitted, as in n7nn> 
T ■■■■ T — 

Jnd. XX. 40. [Given by Bott. g 500, 5, as an example of the simplifying of that which is usually doubled, to express the 
idea of thi^ pernaiient, gradual or gentle. See al>o ^ 1123, 3. Coinp. Oreen, ^ 141. 1 ; Stuart, ^ 613, 11. — A.]. 

Ver. 1.5. [Stuart's rendering of the last clause as final, " that I might find, etc." is unnecessary ; it is rather a simple 
consecutive. — A.]. , 

Ver. 18. [nOv^nj, the co^ortaiiue use of the Intentional. Bott., g 965, 2. — A.]. 


1. From the preceding wnrnings against un- 
chastity and adultery (chap. ii. lB-19 ; chap. v. ; 
chap. vi. 20-35) the one now before us is distin- 
guished by the fact, that the poet, after a preli- 
minary general introduction (vers. 1-5 ; comp. 
chap. vi. 20-24), for the sake of delineating more 
clearly the repuLsiveness and various conse- 
quences of intercourse with wanton women, de- 
picts in narrative form the example of a single 
adulterous woman, who by her lascivious arts 
betrays a foolish youth into adultery. This is 

therefore a didactic narrative, with a purpose of 
earnest warning, here presented as a conclusion 
to tlie second larger group of admonitory dis- 
courses. It is not possibly an allegory, for no- 
tliing whatsoever in the text points to such a con- 
ception of the adulteress, by virtue of which she 
might be regarded as introduced as a personifi- 
cation of the abstract idea of folly (in contrast 
with that of wisdom personified). iS'ot till we 
come to chap. ix. 13 sq. do we find such a pre- 
sentation of folly under the image of a wanton, 
adulterous woman. — In contrast with tlie exposi- 
tors of the ancient church, most of wliom gave 
allegorical interpretations, the correct view is 



found as early as M. Geier, Vatablus, Merce- 
Rus, Egari), Hansen, Michaelis, Starke, and 
also in nearly all the moderns except Von Ger- 
LACH. The view of several of those named, es- 
pecially that of Starke, that the whole narration 
is to be regarded a true history, an actual expe- 
rience of the poet, lacks sufficient support in the 
style and form of the delineation. The history 
may just as well be imaginary as the contents of 
many narrations of Christ, — e. >j., that of the 
good Samaritan, of the prodigal son, etc. 

2. Vers. 1-5: Introduction in a general form, 
in which ver. 1 reminds us of chap. i. 8 ; ii. 1 ; 
vi. 20; so ver. 2 of iv. 4; ver. 3 of iii. 3 ; vi. 21 ; 
ver. 5 of ii. IG; vi. 24.— Ver. 2. And my 
teaching as the apple of thine eye, lit. " as 
the little man in thine eye." The same iigura- 
tive description is found in Arabic and Persian 
(see Umisrext on this passage). Comp. also the 
Greek Koprj, Kopdoiov (r=|]>^-r\| [the daughter 
of theeyc] Lam.ii.18) anil theLtitin pupa, pupiUa. 
The apple of the eye is also in Dout. xxxii. 10; 
Ps. xvii. 8: Zech. ii. 12, the emblem of a precious 
possession guarded with peculiarly watchful 
care.— Ver. 3. Bind them to thy fingers, 
not precisely as an amulet, as Umbreit thinks, 
but as an ornament, a costly decoration, like a 
ring; comp. Song Sol. viii. 0, and the observa- 
tions on iii. 3. — Without adequate reason Hitzig 
regards the verse as spurious, on account of its 
partial correspondence with Deut. vi. 8; xi. 18. 
As though the figures here employed, especially 
that in the first clause, did not occur very fre- 
quently within the sphere of the Old Testament, 
and that in every instance with a form somehow 
slightly modified! Comp. e. g., Ex. xiii. 9, 16; 
Jer. xxii. 24 ; Hag. ii. 23. — Ver. 4. " Thou art 
my sister!" Comp. Job xvii. 14; xxx. 29; 
"Wisd. viii. 2. The parallel "acquaintance" in 
the 2d clause corresponds with the Hebrew ex- 
pression >'^10, which denotes knowledge, ac- 
quaintance, and then (abstract for the concrete, 
as occurs, e. (/., also in the use of the French 
eonnaisfince [and the English " acquaintance "]) 
one well known, a friend, fainiUaris. The same 
expression is found also in Ruth ii. 1 as the Kri. 
Comp. P. Cassel on this passage, who however 
both for that passage and the one before us gives 
the preference to the K'thibh ^'TO (comp. Ps. 
Iv. 14 ; Ixxxviii. 9) as the more primitive reading. 
3. Vers. G-9. The foolish yourif/ man. — Through 
my lattice I looked out. Comp. the quite 
similar representation in the song of Deborah, 
Judges V. 28. ^JU'N denotes as it does there a lat- 

" T : ■.■ 

ticed aperture, an arrangement for the circulation 
of fresh air (IIitzmO- — Ver. 7. And I saw 
among the inexperienced; literally, among 
the vi/niocc:, the simple ; comp. remarks on i. 4, 
•where the same expression D'Xr^i) is used, synony- 
mous with "^yi, boy, as here with D'J3. It is not 
necessary, with Arnoldi, Bertiieau and Hitzig, 
to explain the expression in exact accordance 
with tiie Arabic hyjiircncs [young men], — Ver. 
8. Near a corner. — Tlio Masoreiic punctuation 
("133 with niappikin the H (comp. mo. Job xi. 9) 
represents the corner as hers, i. e., tlie corner of 
the adulteress, the corner of her house, — and 

many recent expositors, e. g., Umbreit and Hit- 
zig, translate and explain accordingly. But in- 
asmuch as according to ver. 12 (which Hitzig, 
without any reason, pronounces spurious), the 
adulteress is accustomed to watch " at every 
corner," therefore at street corners in general, 
it is not quite needful to refer the corner here 
mentioned to her dwelling. All the ancient ver- 
sions moreover have read only the simple PlilS 
(LXX : Traod juviav ; Yu]g. : j'uxta angulum, etc.). 
— And sauntered along the ■way to her 
house. — Psychologically it is pertinent to depict 
the young man predisposed to sin as strolling 
before the house of the adulteress, and this as 
the beginning of his imprudence, so far forth as 
he thus plunges himself into temptation. The 
verb 1^]^ is fairly chosen, as it always expresses 
a certain care and intention in his going. We 
say substantially "he measures his steps, he 
paces before her door" (Umbreit). — Ver. 9. lu 
the tw^ilight, in the evening of the day. — 
The accumulation of the expressions is explained 
by the fact that it was fitting to characterize the 
action and conduct of the young man as belong- 
ing to the works of darkness, the deeds of night. 
Comp. Luke xxii. 53; Rom. xiii. 12; 1 Thess.v. 4-7, 
etc. There is furthermore no contradiction be- 
tween the notation of time in the first clause and 
that in the second ; for ^tl^J strictly signifies not 
the first evening twilight, but the later period of 
evening darkness, irom 9 o'clock to 12 (see Job 
vii. 4; xxiv. 15), and so the time immediately 
bordering upon the true black night or midnight. 
— In the blackness of night — literally, "in 
tlie pupil of the night," comp. xx. 20, K'ri. The 
tertiuin comparationis is to be found, doubtless in 
both, the blackness and the middle, and not in 
the first alone, as Umbreit holds. Comp. besides 
the phrase "heart of the night " in the poetic 
language of the Persians (see Umbreit on this 

4. Vers. 10-20. The adulteress. — In the attire 
of a harlot. — HJIT iT*^, dress of a harlot (comp. 
with respect to H'tJ', dress, apparel, Ps. Ixxiii. 
16), stands here with no connecting word in ap- 
position to " woman ;" a woman a harlot's dress, 
as though the woman herself were nothing more 
than such a dress. Thus, and with good reason, 
Bertiieau explains [and Words.], while Hitzig 
altogether artificially explains T?'\D by TVW (from 
TW'd) as equivalent to r\?73'7, likeness, and accord- 
ingly translates "with the outward appearance of 
a harlot;" in the same way also the LXX: el6og 

exovaa iropviKdv. — Subtle in heart. — 37 n^>'3 
is strictly "one who is guarded in heart," 
('. e., one whose heart is guarded and inaccessi- 
ble, who locks up her plans and counsels deep iu 
her breast, comp. Is. Ixv. 4. Thus Cur. B. Mi- 
chaelis (citing the French re.tenu), Umbreit, 
Bertiieau, Elster, etc., and from earlier times 
at least the Vers. Ycncta: 7T£(l>v?My/invrf rijv KapSiav. 
[With these Worbsw. is in substantial agree- 
ment; "her heart is like a walled fortress," etc.']. 
The other ancient versions expressed the idea 
"one carrying away the heart of the young man," 
as though they had read nf^VJ (so also recently 

CHAP. VII. 1-27. 


Arnold:). Ewald explains "of hardened 
heart, bold and confident ;" Hitzig, in accord- 
ance with the Arabic and comparing the saucia in 
"Viuoil's Jilnckl, IV. 1 : " an arrow in her heart, 
wounded by love's dart," and therefore ardent 
and wanton — both of these being plainly altoge- 
ther artificial and adventurous. [Fuekst, treat- 
ing the acyective as fem. constr. from lljfj, ren- 
ders "watching (for hearts of young men"). — 
Boisterous was she and ungovernable. — 
With the first epithet (literally, shouting) comp. 
chap. ix. 13; with the second, Hos. iv. 1(3, where 
the same word is used of a wild heifer that will 
not submit its neck to the yoke. — Ver. 12. Now 
in the street, elc. — That we have only here a 
custom, a habit of the wanton woman described, 
while in the preceding verse we have delineated 
her condition in a single instance, is an entirely 
arbitrary assumption of Hitzig's, which is alto- 
gether opposed by the use of the Imperfect in 
both cases (^IJD'i'.', ver. 11, and 3^X71, ver. 12). 
Therefore the argument that the verse is spuri- 
ous, resting as it does mainly on this alleged 
difference in the substance and scope of the 
verse, is to be rejected (comp. above, remarks on 
ver. 8). — Ver. 13. Put on a bold face. — Comp. 
chap. xxi. 29; Eccles. viii. 1. — Ver. 11. Thank- 
offerings were binding upon me — that is, 
in consequence of a vow, as the second clause 
shows. She has therefore on the day that is 
hardly gone ("to-day" — the day is here repre- 
sented as continuing into the night) slain a vic- 
tim in sacrifice that had been vowed to the Lord 
for some reason or other, and has prepared for a 
meal the flesh of this animal, which in accordance 
with the law. Lev. vii. 16, must be eaten on the 
second day, at the latest. To this meal, which, 
to judge from the description of the luxurious 
furnishing of the chamber, in vers. 16 sq., is no 
simple affair, she now invites the young man. — 
Ver. 16. Variegated coverlets of Egyptian 
linen. — riDpn which the older translators 
nearly all interpret as "variegated coverlets," the 

larger number derive from the Arabic ^ ^Va _>■ » 

to be many colored (therefore tapetes vcrsicolorcs 
s. picti, as it is found as early as the Vulgate) ; 
Bertheau, on the contrary, derives from itOPl^ 
3i*n to cut, to make stripes or strips (therefore 
striped TaautQv'iaX) ; IIitzig finally derives from the 

Arab. i^Jo_c, cotton, appealing to Pliny, //. 

N., XIX., 1, 2, according to whom cotton fabrics 
in great quantity were manufactured from native 
material. The first of these explanations, as the 
simplest and best attested, deserves the prefer- 
ence. — pCDX is equivalent to the ^Egypt. Alhi- 
ouniau, linen, and is fouml in Greek also in the 
form b&dvr] or b^iovi.ov. [The rendering of the 
E. V. " with carved works, with fine linen of 
Egypt" conforms to* closely to the primary 
meaning of the verb 3i3n "to carve." It cannot 
refer to any carved frame work of the bed, but 
rather to the embroidered figures which resemble 
carving — A.]. — Ver. 17. I have sprinkled my 

couch, etc. — Hitzig, who translates the verb by 
" I have perfumed," has in mind a mere per- 
fuming of the bed or of its apparel by means of 
the swinging of a censer filled with myrrh, aloes 
and cinnamon. But while H^J does properly 
signify to raise, to swing, yet the signification 
"sprinkle" is easily enough derived from this; 
and although the spices in question were not 
sprinkled precisely in the form of water holding 
them in solution, they still produced a satisfac- 
tory result if strewed upon the coverlets of the 
couch in little bits, fragments of the bark, fibres 
or scales. In no other way than this is it to be 
supposed that the same fragrant materials (with 
cassia) were employed, according to Ps. xlv. 8, in 
perfuming the king's robes of state; comp. also 
Song Sol. iii. 6; iv. 14. — Ver. 18. Let us sate 
ourselves with love, etc. — Comp. v. 19, and 
also the phrase DHH ^^2V, Song Sol. v. 1.— 
Enjoy ourselves in love. — Instead of the 
meaning "enjoy" or "delight one's self," well 
attested by Job xx. 18; xxxix. 13, the old inter- 
preters give to the verb in this instance the 
stronger meaning "to embrace passionately, to 
cohabit" (LXX: kyKv/und^u/XEV spun; Aquila and 
Theodotion: (n)u-epnvX£iicjfj.ev ; so also Hitzig: 
"let us join in love's indulgence!"). But it is 
plainly unnecessai-y to substitute an obscene im- 
port, artificially and with a possible appeal to 
the Arabic, for the simpler meaning, which is 
abundantly attested by the iisus loquendi of the 
Old Testament. — Ver. 19. The man is not at 
home. — Let it be observed with how cold and 
strange a tone the faithless wife speaks of her 
husband. — He has gone a long journey. — 
Lit., "upon a journey from afar;" the idea 
"from afar" is loosely appended to that of 
"journey" in order to represent not so much the 
way itself as rather the person traversing it as 
far removed. — Ver. 20. The purse he hath 
taken with him — and therefore proposes ex- 
tensive transactions at a distance from home, and 
will continue journeying a considerable time. — ■ 
On the day of the full moon he vyill return. 
— In the Hebrew the ND3 (for which in Ps. Ixxxi. 
4 we have the form T\'^2i) forms an alliteratioa 
with the f]p3 in the first member, which is pro- 
bably not undesigned; "the verse flows so 
smoothly along (comp. ii. 13) and one imagines 
that he hears the sweetly musical voice of the be- 
trayer" (Hitzig). Furthermore the " day of the 
full moon" is not a designation of the full mooa 
of the feast of tabernacles which was celebrated 
with peculiar festivities (Umbreit, Elster), but 
the expression plainly relates to the next suc- 
ceeding full moon. Since now, according to ver. 
9, the time to which the narrative relates must be 
about new moon, the cunning woman meatis to 
hint that her husband will not return for about 
a fortnight. See Hitzig on this passage. 

5. Vers. 21-23. The result of her enticing arts. 
Ver. 21. With the multitude of her entice- 
ments. — HD/, learning (i. 5; ix. 9) is here iro- 
nically employed of the skilful and bewildering 
rhetoric wliich the adulteress has known how to 
employ. — With the expression "smoothness of 
lips" comp. "smoothness of tongue," chap. vi. 


24. — Vcr. 22. A; once, Hebrew Di^J^^, implies 
that he had at first liesitated, until this fear of 
his to take the decisive step was overcome by evil 
appetite, and he now witli passionate promptness 
formed the vile purpose and executed it at once, 
to cut oif all iurther reflection. Here is evi- 
dently a stroke in the picture of the profoundest 
psychological truth. — As an ox goeth to the 
slaughter. — Therefore following another, and 
■with a brutish unconsciousness. Comp. the cor- 
responding figure, which, however, is used with 
a purpose of commendation, in Is. liii. 7. And 
as fetters (serve) for the correction of the 
fool. — Wiih the fetters {Djy coinp. Is. iii. 18) ;ve 
have here compared, of course, the adulteress who 
suddenly and by a single effort prevails upon the 
thouglitless youth, — and not, possibly, the young 
man himself '(as Umbreit supposes, who finds the 
significance of the comparison in tliis, that the 
foolish and ensnared youth is represented first as 
a dumb beast, and then as a simply material phy- 
sical thing, as a mere dead instrument. As the 

obstinate fool {r^^,) who treads a forbidden 
path, is suddenly caught and hold fast by the 
trap lying in it, so has the deceitful power of the 
adulteress caught the foolish young man. Thus, 
and with probable correctness, Elster, and long- 
ago many of the older expositors, like Sol. 
Glass, I'hilol. Sacra, p. 738, and M. Geier on 
this passage (only that they unnecessarily explain 
by an hiipallaye: "as fetters for the correction of 
afool," in other words, "as the fool (comes) to the 
correction of fetters"). Somewhat differently, and before him Luther, St.a.rke, 
etc. [and recently Stuart] ; " He comes as if to 
fetters, which are decreed for the correction of 

the fool ;" but to supply befoi-e DDj^ ^X from the 
preceding has the order and parallelism against 
it. [Fuekst regards the noun as an instrumental 
accus., and translates "and as in fetters, i. e., 
slowly, the fool is led to correction," — but re- 
gards the evidence as all indicating a defective 
text. NoYES ami Muenscher treat the noun as 
instrumental, but vary the construction of the 
Other words: " as one in fetters to the chastise- 
ment of the fool." WoRDsw. suggests two or 
three renderings, of which that of Noyes is one, 
but indicates no preference. Zockler's render- 
ing is brought, we think, with the least violence, 
into correspondence with the other two compari- 
sons, where the idea is plainly that of a certain 
fate, notwithstanding unconsciousness of it. So 
fetters await tlie fool, though he may not be 
aware of it — A.] Many older interpreters, either 
failing to understand the figure, or judging it in- 
consistent with the context, have sought relief in 
more violent ways. The LXX, J'cschito and 
Targums explain the OD^ or some word substi- 
tuted for this, as referring to a dog (LXX : 
&a7rep kvuv km dEff/ioir). which is here made a 
parallel to the ox and then the bird in the fol- 
lowing verse ; so also more recent commen- 
tators, like Miciiaelis, Koiiler, c/c. Tlie Vul- 
gate probably read 1^23 instead of DD>?, since it 
translates "as a wanton and stupid lamb." 
Others, as of the older class the LXX, Pe.ichito, 

Targums, Arabic vers., etc. altered the /'If* to TX 

stag, and connected it with ver. 23; so also 
more recently Schelling and Kosenjiueller, 
e. (/.; "and like a deer rushing into fetters." 
IIiTZiG finally treats the passage with the great- 
est violence, since he transfers ver. 23, third 
clause, to the place of the 2d clause in ver. 22; 
in this line, by altering DD>? to D^'3 he changes 
the meaning to "for the fool is angry at correc- 
tion;" he finally transposes the first and third 
clauses of ver. 23, so that the two verses have 
this general import: 

Ver. 22. " He followcth her at once, 

as an ox that goetli to the slaughter, 
and as a bird hasteneth to the snare. 

Ver. 23. For the fool is angry at correction, 
and seeth not that it is for his life, 
until an arrow pierceth his liver." 
This might indeed have been originally the 
meaning of the passage ; but inasmuch as neither 
manuscripts nor old versions give any evidence 
of any other arrangement as having ever existed, 
the whole emendation retains only the value of 
a bold hypotliesis. — Ver. 23. Till an arrow 
pierceth his liver. — Since this clause plainly 
refers to the young man, and neither exclusively 
to the ox nor the fool, the two examples of a 
self-destroying folly which in the second and 
third clauses of ver. 23 are compared with 
liim, its position is parenthetical (Umbreit, 
Elster, Bertheau, etc.); for in the following 
clause still another example is added to the two 
mentioned before, — that of the bird hastening to 
the snare. The "liver" stands here as the re- 
presentative of the vitals in general (comp. Lam. 
ii. 11) as in some instances the heart or again 
the reins (Ps. xvi. 27 ; Ixxiii. 21 ; Prov. xxiii. 
16, etc.). According to Delitzsch, ^('i/. Psijcliol., 
pp. 275 sq., the liver is here made prominent as 
the seat of sensual desire. Since the ancient 
Greeks, Arabians and Persians in fact connected 
this idea with the organ under consideration, 
and since modern Oriental nations also predicate 
of the liver what we say of the heart as the seat 
of the feelings and sensibilities {e. g., the Malays 
in Java, see Ausland, 1863, p. 278), this view may 
be received as probably correct. By no means 
is the designation of the liver in the passage 
before us to be regarded as a purely arbitrary 
poetical license or as a mere accident. — And 
knoweth not that his life is at stake, liter- 
ally, "that it is for his soul ;"' the expression 
ld3J3 signifies " at the price of his life," comp. 
Numb. xvii. 3. 

6. Vers. 24-27. Concluding exhortation intro- 
duced by " and now," like the corresponding 
final epilogue, chap. viii. 32 ; comp. also v. 7. — 

Ver. 25. And stray not, J-'Hi^ /X, [a dehorta- 
tive] from "^l^P^, to go roaming about, comp. njty 
chap. V. 20. 

Ver. 26. And all her slain are many. 
D'OXi'.' meaning "strong" (Bertheau), is never- 
theless on account of the parallelism with D'3"^ 
in the first member to be taken in the sense of 
"numerous, many." comp. Ps. xxxv. 18; .Joel 
i. 5. [HoLii., Noyes, Muexsch . De W., K., agree 
with our author ; Stuaut and Words., like ilic 
E. v., keep closer to the original idea of strength, 

CHAP. VII. 1-27. 


" many strong men" have been her victims. — 
A.] With the expression in the first member 
conip. Judges ix. 40. 

Ver. 27. "Ways of hell — her house. "Her 
house" is the subject, liaviiig here a plural pre- 
dicate connecteJ with it, as chap. xvi. 25; Jer. 
xxiv. 2. — Cliambers of death. Comp. "depths 
of death" or " oi ucii," chap. ix. 18: and with 
reference to the general sentiment of the verse, 
chap. ii. 18 ; v. 5. 


From the eai'lier and copious warnings 
against adultery the one now before us is distin- 
guished by the fact, that while chap. v. con- 
trasted the blessing of conjugal fidelity and 
chaste marital love with unregulated sexual in- 
dulgence, and chap. vi. 20-3-3 particularly urged 
a contending against the inner roots and germs 
of the sin of unchastity, — our passage dwells 
with special fullness upon the temptations from 
without to the transgression of the sixth com- 
mandment. It also sets forth the folly and the 
ruinous consequences of yielding to such temp- 
tations, by presenting an instructive living ex- 
ample. What elements in this vivid moral picture 
stand forth as ethical and psychological truths 
to be taken especially to heart, has been already 
indicated by us in the detailed interpretation. 
Aside from the fact that it is nocturnal rambling, 
that delivers the thoughtless, heedless and idling 
youth into the hands of temptation (ver. 9), and 
aside from the other significant feature, that after 
a first brief and feeble opposition he throws 
himself suddenly and with the full energy of 
passion into his self-sought ruin (ver. 22 ; comp. 
James i. 15), we have to notice here chiefly the 
important part played by the luxurious and 
savory feast of the adulteress as a cooperating 
factor in the allurement of the self-indulgent 
youth (see ver. 14 sq.). It is surely not a feature 
purely incidental, without deeper significance or 
design, that this meal is referred to as preceding 
the central and chief sin ; for, that the tickling 
of the palate with stimulating meats an:l drinks 
prepares the way for lust and serves powerfully 
to excite sexual desire, is an old and universal 
observation, comp. Ex. xxxii. 6 (1 Cor. x. 17). 
"The people sat down to eat and to drink, and 
rose up to play:" as also similar passages from 
classical authors, e. ^. Euripides, J/ce^/w, 788 ; 
Plautus, Miles glorinms, III., 1, 83; Arrian. 
Anah. Alex., II., 5, 4 ; and the well-known Roman 
proverb from Terence [Eunuch., IV., 5, 6; comp. 
Appul.. Metam., II., 11), •'Sine Cerere et Libera 
frxget Venus' [without Ceres (food) and Bacchus 
(wine) Venus (^love) is cold] : and finally Teetcl- 

LIAN, de jejun.. adv. Psychicos, c. 1 : " Lust without 
gluttony would indeed be deemed a monstrosity, 
the two being so united and conjoined that, if tliey 
could by any means be parted, the sexual parts 
would first refuse to be attached to the belly. 
Consider the body ; the region is one, and the or- 
der of the vices conforms to the arrangement of 
the members ; first t he belly , and all other sensual- 
ity is built immediately upon gluttony; through 
indulgence in eating sensual desire ensues," etc. 

In tlie homiletic treatment we are naturally 
not to dwell too long upon these details, lest the 
entire impression produced by the picture of the 
young man ensnared by the adulteress be unduly 
weakened. An analysis of the chapter into 
several texts for sermons is inadmissible on ac- 
count of the closely compacted unity of the action. 
At the most, the five introductory verses may be 
separated as a special text (comp. Starke) ; yet 
even these would better be connected closely with 
the whole, and all the more since they contbrm 
very nearly in expression and contents to similar 
introductory paragraphs of a somewhat general 
nature, of which there have already been several 
(see exeget. notes. No. 2). 

The homily that should comprehend the entire 
chapter might therefore present some such theme 
as this: How the dangers from temptation to un- 
chastitg are to he escaped. Answer: 1) By avoid- 
ing idleness as the beginning of all vice (ver. 6, 
sq.); 2) By shunning all works of darkness 
(ver. 9) ; 3) By subduing the sensual nature, and 
eradicating even the minor degrees of evil appe- 
tite (ver. 14 sq.); 4) By the serious reflection, 
that yielding to the voice of temptation is the 
certain beginning of an utter fall from the grace 
of God, and of eternal ruin (vers. 21, 27). — • 
Comp. Starke: Sin is like a highway robber, 
that at first joins our company in an altogether 
friendly way, and seeks to mislead us from the 
right path, that it may afterwards slay us (Rom. 
vii. 11). — Imaginary pleasure and freedom in the 
sei-vice of sin are like gilded chains with which 
Satan binds men. Though the tempter is deeply 
guilty, he who sufi'ers himself to be tempted is 
not for that reason excused. Let every one there- 
fore flee from sin as from a serpent (Ecclesiast. 
xxi. 2). — Comp. M. Geier : Be not moved by the 
flattering enticements of the harlot, the world, 
false teachers (that betray into spiritual adultery 
and abandonment of God), or of Satan himself. 
Close thine ears against all this, i. e. refuse iu 
genuine Christian simplicity and faithful love to 
the Lord to hearken to any solicitation to diso- 
bedience. Follow not Eve's example, but Jo- 
seph's, Gen. xxxix. 8, etc. — [Trap?: (ver. 9) 
Foolish men think to hide themselves from God 
by hiding God from themselves. — (Ver. 22). Fair 
words make fools fain]. 


Third Group of Admonitory or Proverbial Discourses. 

Chap. VIII. 1— IX. 18. 

14. A second public discourse of wisdom personified. 

Chap. VIII. 1-36. 

a) The ricliness of her gifts. 

(Vers. 1-21.) 

1 Doth not wisdom cry aloud, 

and uuderstanding lift up hex- voice? 

2 Upon the top of the high places, by the way, 
in the midst of the way she placeth herself. 

3 By the side of the gates, at the exit from the city, 
at the entrance to its doors she calleth aloud : 

4 " To you, ye men, I call, 

and my voice is to the sons of men ! 

5 Learn wisdom, O ye simple ones, 

and ye fools, be of an understanding heart ! 

6 Hear, for I speak plain things, 

and the utterances of my lips are right things ; 

7 for my mouth meditateth truth, 

and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 

8 All the words of my mouth are right, 
there is nothing crooked or false in them ; 

9 they are all right to the man of understanding, 
and plain to them that have attained knowledge. 

10 Receive my instruction and not silver, 
and knowledge rather than choice gold ! 

11 For wisdom is better than pearls, 
and no precious things equal her. 

12 I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, 

and find out knowledge of sagacious counsels. 

13 The fear of Jehovah is to hate evil, 
pride, arrogance and an evil way, 
and a deceitful mouth do I hate. 

14 Counsel is mine, and reflection ; 

I am understanding ; I have strength. 

15 By me kings reign 

and rulers govern justly. 

16 By me princes rule 

and nobles, all tlie judges of the earth. 

17 I love them that love me, 

and they that seek me find me. 

18 Riches and honour are with me, 
increasing riches and rigliteousness. 

19 Better is my fruit than the purest, finest gold, 
and my revenue tlian choice silver. 

20 In the way of righteousness do I walk, 
in the midst of the paths of justice, 

21 to ensure abundance to tliose that love me, 
and to fill tlieir treasuries. 

CHAP. VIII. 1-36. 95 

b) The origin of her nature in God. 
(Vers. 22-31.) 

22 Jehovah created me as beginning of his way, 
before his works of old. 

23 From everlasting was I set up, 

from the beginning, before the foundation of the earth. 

24 When there were as yet no floods was I brought forth, 
when thei'e were no fountains abounding with water. 

25 Before the mountains were settled, 
before the hills was I brought forth ; 

26 while as yet he had not made land and plains 
and the first clods of the earth. 

27 When he prepared the heavens I was there, 

when he stretched out the firmament over the deep ; 

28 when he established the clouds above, 

when the fountains of the deep raged loudly ; 

29 when he set to the sea its bounds, 

that the waters should not pass its border; 

when he settled the foundation pillars of the earth; 

30 then was I at his side as director of the work, 
and was delighted day by day, 

rejoicing before him continually, 

31 rejoicing in his earth, 

and my delight did I find in the sons of men. 

c) The blessing that flows from the possession of her. 
(Vers. 32-36.) 

32 And now, ye children, hearken unto me : 
Blessed are they that keep my ways! 

33 Hear instruction, and be wise, 
and be not rebellious. 

84 Blessed is the man that heareth me, 

watching daily at my gates, 

waiting at the posts of my doors ! 
35 For whosoever findeth me findeth life 

and obtaineth favor from Jehovah ; 
S6 and whosoever sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul : 

all they that hate me love death." 


Ver. 2. n'3=p3, in the midst, is an Aramaic idiom, occurring also in Ezekiel xli. 9. — A. 

Ver. 3. As to the form Hihp comp. i. 20. [Bott. 929, 5,— A] 

Ver. 5. Instead of 37 ^J"3n [understand ye in lieart, " be ye of an understanding lieart," E. V.], we should probably 

•■ • T , 

read with the LXX [evSeo-ee KapStafJ, Viil^., Arnolbi and Hitzig 37 IJOn. direct your heart, i. e., exert your under- 

Btanding, appUcaU animum. Comp. p3 J 21, Ps. Ivii. 8 ; and also 1 Sam. vii. 3 ; Job xi. 13 ; and to illustrate the use of 2^ 

in the sense of the understanding, the reason, comp. several other passages in the Proverbs, especially xv. 32; xvii. 16; 
xix. 8. 

Ver. 6. D'TJJ. [An illustration of the principle that "single adjectives describing what is pre-eminent or striking 

appear in the more elevated style, raised as it were to personality, and are therefore put in the masc. plural ;" see Bottcher, 
? 707, 2.-A.] ... , 

Ver. 13. nX JC', [an infinitive of a verb X 7 having the feminine termination of the verbs PI 7 ; see Bott., g 10S3, 13. — A.]. 

3nX [regularly 3nXX. — after the rejection of one of the weak consonants, the vowel is "assimilated " from tha 

T ■ • ~ V V 

initial vowel of the neighboring form '3ni< ; for examples of the normal modification, 3nX, with and without sufBxes, 

Bee Mai. i. 2; Hos. xi. 1 ; xiv. 5 : Pa. cxix. 167.— Bott., §425, 7t.— A.] 

'JJXi'O', [an example of the retention of the fuller form of the plural ending with weakened rowel and toneless 

•ufBx;'see IJbiT., g 1047,/.— A.] 



Ver. 24. jl'lJ'J'O. With liiis fem. plural form there occurs in an isolated instance, Ps. civ. 10 [together with four 

others of construct and suffix forms], the masculine D'J'J-'O > fT which reason the masc. of the adjective '^33J is the 

less striking fBERTHEAu). 

Ver. 20. [Perfect tense with DID in the sense of a Pluperfect. BoiT., J 947, c. — A.] 

Ver. 29. [OZl^*' vh}. Imperftct with x'?! in sense of an Imperf. Subj., '-so that," etc. Bott., g 949, 5, 2.— A.] 

Ver. 29. 1p-in3 stands either for IpPIS, or as Hitzio perhaps more correctly assumes for the Poal form IpDinS. 

[BoTTCHER prefers the first of these explanations, citing this as an example of usage varying in certain words, and sug. 

gestiug as a reason for the adoption of iho fuller form iu this case, correspondence with "iO^^yZ in the first clause. See 

gj 706, ij, and 1147.— A.] 


1. Preliminary Remark. From the preceding 
larger group of admonitory discourses (chap, iv.- 
vii.), that now before us, comprising only chap, 
viii. and ix., is distinguished chiefly by tlie fact 
that it returns to the representation, which has 
already been made in chapters i.-iii. of Wisdom 
as a person. i\.nd this is so done that the two 
features of the representation whicli there aj)- 
pcared separately ; the exhibition -of Wisdom as 
a public preacher (i. 20-33), and as a divine 
agent in the creation of the world (iii. 19-2G), 
are now combined in one whole. Here Wisdom 
appearing as a preacher herself testifies to the 
aid wliich she rendered God at the creation (viii. 
22 sq.). Besides this point of contact with the 
first main group, we may also direct attention to 
the mention of the fear of God as a disposition in 
the most intimate alliance, and even identical 
with wisdom (viii. 13) ; this also is common to 
the division before us and the first; for only in 
chapters i.-iii. (see i. 7; i. 29 ; ii. 5 ; iii. 7) was 
any express utterance given to this form of the 
Hhokmah doctrine. The middle group (chap, 
iv.-vii.) nowhere contains the expression "the 
fear of Jehovah." There are however continu- 
ally coming to view many connections between 
the second and third groups; especially the ijlu- 
ral address "ye children," repeated in the dis- 
course of the personal Wisdom (viii. 32) from 
chap. iv. 1 ; V. 7 ; vii. 24 (see above, p. 95). 
Observe also the representation of Folly personi- 
fied, as a counterpart to Wisdom (chap. ix. IS- 
IS), appearing as an adulteress of mien and 
bearing quite like the adulterous woman of chap, 
vii. who is as it were exhibited here, " developed 
into a more comprehensive character" (comp. 
HiTzia, p. 69). — Furthermore this last section of 
the first main division of the Book of Proverbs 
consists of only two discourses of unequal length, 
chapters viii. and ix. each of which, however, in 
turn includes several subdivisions clearly distin- 
guishable, — chap, viii., comprising tlie three that 
have been given above, and chap. ix. the two pa- 
rallel delineations of tlie personal Wisdom (vers. 
1-12) and Folly personified (vers. 13-18).— The 
unequal length of the two discourses Hitzig 
seeks to a certain extent to remove by striking 
out from chap. viii. a large number of verses, 
sixteen, and from chap. ix. a smaller number, 
six, as spurious additions by a later hand. Ilis 
grounds of distrust arc, however, here again of 
a purely subjective kind, and do not present for 
a single one of the passages in question any reli- 
able evidence of their spurious character, as we 
shall hereafter have occasion to show in detail. 

2. Vers. 1-3. Doth not wisdom cry aloud? 

This form of interrogation (with NvH) which 
expects as its answer an assenting and enipliatio 
"Yes, truly !" points to the fact clearly brought 
to view in all that has preceded, that wisdom 
bears an unceasing witness in her own behalf in 
the life of men. 

Ver. 2. Upon the top of the high places 
by the way, in order that those who pass along 
by the way may observe her. In the midst 
of the V7ay. This Aramaic idiom gives no oc- 
casion for pronouncing the passage spurious 
(contrary to the view of Hitzig, who furthermore 
takes exception to the allusion to "high places " 
in the 1st clause, and therefore summarily pro- 
nounces the entire 2d verse interpolated). Um- 
BREiT translates "at the house where roads 
cross," and interprets, not indeed of an inn lo- 
cated at cross-roads (as Doderlein does), but 
still of a house situated at the junction of several 
streets. But these "ways" are roads, solitary 
paths, not streets in the city, and the delineation 
proceeds in such an order as to exhibit AVisdom 
first, in ver. 2, as a preacher in the open country, 
in grove and field, on mountains and plains, and 
then in ver. 3 to describe her public harangues 
in the cities, and in the tumult of the multitudes. 
The condition therefore is unlike both to that 
presented in i. 20, 21, and to that in ix. 13, where 
in both cases the interior of a city alone furnishes 
the scene for Wisdom's activity as a preacher. 

Ver. 3. At the exit from the city, literally 
" towards the mouth of the city," i. e., standing 
at the gate and facing the streets which centre 
there. — At the entrance to its doors, (comp. 
i. 21), i. e., standing on the farther (outer) side 
of the gateway. 

3. Vers. 4-11. This more general introduction 
to AVisdom's discourse, with the addition of ver. 
12, Hitzig declares spurious, partly on account 
of the alleged tautological nature of vers. 0-9, 
giving no genuine progress to the thought, — 
partly because ver. 10 is almost identical with 
viii. 19, and ver. 11 with iii. 15, — and lastly, 
partly because of the peculiar form D't^'X iu 
ver. 4, which is said to betray a later date. Yefc 
this very form is found also in Isa. liii. 3, and 
Ps. cxli. 4, for both of which passages the later 
origin (in the exile, or even after the exile) is in 
like manner yet to be established. And as re- 
spects the alleged tautologies and repetitions, 
similar ones occur throughout the entire Book 
of Proverbs (comp. Introd. § 12). The codices 
and old versions, however, know nothing what- 
ever of the absence from the text of even a single 
one of these verses. 

Ver. 5. Learn w^isdom, O ye simple ones. 
Comp. i. 4. — Ye fools, show^ understanding, 
see critical note, above. 

CHAP. VIII. 1-36. 


Ver. 6. I speak plain thinss. The word 
here transbilcd " plain " might, it. is true, desig- 
nate "noble, princely things," (oonip. the ae/ui'd 
of the LXX, the "res matrix" of the Vulg., etc.) ; 
[So WoRDSw., HoLDEN, N. and M.], the paral- 
lelism however renders more natural the signifi- 
cation "plain, evident" [clara, manifesta) ; [So 
Stuart] ; conip. a similar term in ver. 9. This 
only appropriate sense we find already given in 
the Chaldee an<l Syri.'ic versions. 

Ver. 7. For my mouth meditateth truth, 
literally, "my palate." comp. Song Sol. v. 1(3; 
JoTj xxxi. 30. The function of speech does not 
appear to be here immediately associated with 
the palate, but, as the antithesis in the 2d clanso 
shows, rather the inward moulding of tlie word 
as yet unspoken, by the silent working of tJie 
spirit, — the reflective consideration which pre- 
cedes speech. 

Ver. 8. Right, literally, " in righteousness." 
For this use of the preposition employed to in- 
troduce the predicate, and forming as it were the 
transition to the 3 essentise, compare passages 

like Prov. xxiv. 5; Ps. xxix. 4, and Ewald, B 
217 f. 

Ver. 9. Right to the man of understand- 
ing . . . plain to them that have attained 
knov7ledge. Strai'jht and plain stand con- 
trasted witli the crooked and false of the preceding 
verse. [Trapp: " Plain in things necessary to 
salvation ; for as all duties so all truths do not 
concern all men. God doth not expect or re- 
quire that every man should be a doctor in the 
chair; but those points that direct to duty here 
and salvation hereafter, are clear, express and 
obvious to them thatdesire to understand them."] 

The " man of understanding " is lie who is so 
wise as not to despise the words of wisdom, who 
rather duly takes them to heart. " They that 
have attained knowledge," literally "the finders 
of knowledge," are those who have made pro- 
gress in the sphere of ethical knowledge, the 
" knowing," the mature and experienced. Um- 
BREiT incorrectly interprets " to them that wish 
to find knowledge ;" the participle is here to be 
taken in a preteritive sense; comp. Gen. xix. 
14 ; Neh. x. 29. [Other examples may be found 
cited by 13 ttciier, § 997, 2, 11.] 

Ver. 10. Receive ray instruction and not 
silver, /. c, when you have the choice prefor 
my instruction to silver. There is therefore 
here a comparison like that in the 2d clause, only 
somewhat otherwise expressed. — Rather than 
choice gold. Hitzig, following the LXX and 
Chald., "than tried gold." But inilj means 

T : ■ 

" selected, chosen," and we have no trace else- 
where of the use of the partic. |n3J, which is 
indeed similar in form and easily substituted, for 
the designation of tried gold [xP^'^^^ov dsdom/mcfxe- 
vnv). Comp. besides ver. 19, and in the forego- 
ing, iii. 14; with ver. 11 comp. iii. 1-5. 

4. Vers. 12-21. I, "Wisdom, dwell vrith 
prudence. That Wisdom who is spooking lierc 
emphatically calls herself by name is doubtless 
to be explained by the fact that only just before, 
in ver. 11, she had spoken of herself in the 3d 
person. Very unwarrantably Hitzig infers I'rom 
this circumstance the spuriousness of this verse 
also. — The " dwelling " of wisdom "with pru- 

dence" expresses a confidential or friendly rela- 
tion, — the same idea wliich is elsewhere indicated 
by the liiphil of the closely related verb J3D ; 
comp. Ps. cxxxix. 3; Job xxii. 21. Inasmuch as 
the verb stands here with the simple accusative 
of the noun, without the prepositions ordinarily 
signifying "with" (for this construction comp. e. 
g., Ps. V. 5) many translated "1 inhabit prudence" 
and so conceive of prudence either as the shel- 
tering roof (as e. g., Umbreit explains), or as a 
property subject to the disposal of prudence (thus 
Bertheau) ; but both are alike harsh and inap- 
posite. The correct view is fouod in Ewald, 
Hitzig, Elster, the last of whom illustrates the 
relation of wisdom to prudence by the remark, 
"prudence (HD^;,') denotes here right know- 
ledge in special cases, in contrast with the more 
coinprehonsive idea of intelligence in general; 
the practical realization of the higher principle 
of knowledge found in wisdom (PIODn)," — And 
find out knowledge of sagacious counsels. 
" To find out knowledge " here stands for "to 
know" (comp. Job xxxii. 13); the expression 
as a whole would therefore find its equivalent ia 
the simpler "and know sagacious counsels" 
(nraiO .t'l'-?)). Comp. furthermore the notes on 
i. 14. ■ 

Ver. 13. The fear of Jehovah is to hate 
evil. Only thus far is the 1st member of this 
ver. to be carried; the following expressions, 
"pride," "arrogance," and " an evil way" (li- 
terally, "way of evil") are, in spite of the pre- 
sent accentuation, to be regarded as prefixed ob- 
jects to the verb "I hate," so that the meaning 
of the entire verse is substantially this ; "Inas- 
much as the fear of God, this beginning of all 
wisdom (see i. 7 ; ix. 10) comprises within itself 
as a distinguishing characteristic the hatred of 
evil, I, wisdom, accordingly hate everything 
proud, wicked and crafty." (Comp. Hitzig on 
this passage). The general proposition forming 
the first member of the ver., which naturally 
gives us no exhaustive definition of the fear of 
God, but only a description of it by one of its 
chief characteristics (comp. Heb. xi. 1), is there- 
fore, as it were, the major premise, from which 
the conclusion is drawn that forms the 2d and 
3d members. The minor premise, however, 
which might have had some such form as the 
first clause of chap. ix. 10, is omitted; the rea- 
soning, as it here stands, taking the ^orm of a 
lemma. In opposition to the diverse methods of 
punctuating and interpreting, such as are found 
in Umbreit, Bertheau, and most of the earlier 
commentators, comp. Hitzig and Elster on this 
passage. — For the expression " mouth of deceit " 
or "crafty mouth" comp. ii. 12; x. 31. 

Ver. 14 HiTziGpronounces an addition growing 
out of the similar passage Job xii. 13, as he also 
explains the two following verses as "founded 
upon the reading of Isa. xxxii. 1," and condemns 
them. But the accordance with these other pas- 
sages is far too remote and partial to permit us 
to think of a derivation from them. In the case 
of ver. 14 and Job xii. 13 we might more readily 
think of the converse relation of dependence, ia 
case one must at all maintain any such relation 
as existing, which seems hardly necessary. For' 
as respects the expressions "wisdom," " coun- 



eel," " understanding," and "strength," which 
are brought into combiniition in these verses, 
they are tound, with the exception of the second, 
combined elsewhere, especially in Isa. xi. 2, 
Avhere they are adduced quite as they are here, 
as attributes of the true ruler. The instances 
of piironomasia, however, in vers. 15 and 16, 
("kings are kings," and "rulers rulers "), were 
of themselves so natural, and suggested them- 
selves so obviously, that neither for tlie author of 
our verses was there need of any reading of Isa. 
xxxii. 1, nor for Isaiah of any recollection of 
Prov. viii. 15, 16, to give occasion for the employ- 
ment of this trope. — [Wokdsw. : Sound wisdom, 
the very essence of things, whence they derive 
their soundness and strength]. — I am under- 
Standing, I have (lit. "mineis'j strength. 
This cliange in the pronouns is certainly nol un- 
designed: "understanding" is to be exhibited as 
onewitli wisdom, "strength" however [i.e., true 
efficiency or energj'), as a possession, or more pre- 
cisely a result of wisdom, just as previously in 
the iirst clause "counsel" and "reflection" 
(comp. with respect to them ii. 17) are named 
as constant products, possessions, or attributes 
of wisdom. 

Ver. IG. And nobles, all Judges upon 
earth. These two subjects, attached without any 
copula to the "princes" of the 1st clause, are 
plainly intended to signify that all possible diverse 
classes of princes or rulers derive their power 
from the celestial wisdom of God (comp. the simi- 
lar enumerations in Eph. i. 21; Col. i. 16, etc.). 
The idea that this proposition can hold only of just 
rulers, owes its origin doubtless to the old read- 
ing "judges of righteousness " (PHX) instead 
of "judges of the earth" (]*.'?^.), (found in Syr., 
Chald., Vulg., R. Norzi, and still preferred by 
Beutueau). See objections to this and argu- 
ments in support of the Masoretic text in Hitzig. 

Ver. 17. I love them that love me. This 
conforms to the pointed text C^ni^). The writ- 
ten text (nonj^), "them that love her (Wis- 
dom) " is not in keeping with the context, seems 
to have been occasioned by a wandering of the 
transcriber's eye to the form of the verb follow- 
ing [which although a peculiar form of the Jst 
person — see critical note above — might, unpoint- 
ed, be mistaken for a form of the od person], and 
lias therefore with abundant reason been rejected 
by all the old versions, several MSS., and by 
most of the recent interpreters (Umbreip, Ewald, 
Elster, and Hitzig). — With the 2d clause of ver. 
17, comp. i. 28. 

Ver. 18. Comp. iii. IG. — Increasing riches. 
This is probably the meaning which, with 
HiTzio, we should adopt (growing means, 
" wnchscnd Vcnno(/cn") ; for the conunon render- 
ing, "old" or "durable" riches, seems less ap- 
propriate, since the old is by no means necessarily 
the sound and permanent. Comp. rather, with 
reference to the idea of a steadily growing or 
accumulating wealth, Ps. Ixii. 10.— And right- 
eousness. What this here signifies is more 
fully explained in the first clause of ver. 20. 

Ver. 19. Better is my fruit, comp. the re- 
presentation of wisdom as the tree of life in 
chap. iii. 18, and to illustrate the "purest, finest 

gold" (in Hebrew properly two synonymous ex- 
pressions for the idea of "fine gold," comp. Ps. 
xix. 11; xxi. 4; Song Sol. v. 11) compare iii. 14. 
Ver. 21. To ensure abundance to those 
that love me. The word here translated 
" abundance " {pi) must here necessarily be a 
substantive, of similar import with a derived 
form (rfD'^ri) occurring in ii. 7, and substantially 
equivalent to the vTrap^ir of the LXX and the 
ovaia of the Venetian version. For the verb 
"to ensure " plainly requires an object, and the 
position of this noun at the end of the clause 
shows that this is precisely the object governed 
by the verb. Moreover, if Hitzig's conception 
of the expression as an impersonal verb in the 
sense of pne.'iio est, it is at my command, ("I 
have it ") were correct, we ought rather to have 

a pronominal object C? t'.''.- " there is to me "). 
The verse as a whole, therefore, forms a conclu- 
sion to the preceding, setting forth the object of 
Wisdom's walking in paths of righteousness as 
described in ver. 20; in other words, what result 
follows from such a course to her friends and 
attendants. Comp. Bertheau on this passage. 
After vei-. 21 the LXX has the words, "If I 
declare to you the things that occur day by 
day, I will remember to enumerate the things 
that are from eternity" [eav avayysi^u v/ilv to, 
/cai?' i}/iepav yivo/ieva, /ivr/fiovEvau ra i^ aluvog 
dpi^/i^aai'\. This addition is evidently designed 
to prepare the way for the subsequent descrip- 
tion of the antemundane origin and working of 
Wisdom; it appears, however, as ill adapted to 
this as to any possible place either at the begin- 
ning of the chapter, such as .Jaeger proposes to as- 
sign it [Observatt., p. 63), or again before ver. 10, 
where Hitzig would be disposed to transfer it. 
5. Vers. 22-2G. In this delineation of the 
divine origin of the personal Wisdom, the first 
half directs attention first to her existence before 
time, or her creation as the first of all created 
things. — Jehovah created me as the begin- 
ning of his course. Thus versions as old as 
the LXX (fKT(CTf), Chald., Syriac, with most of 
the modern commentators; — while the exegesis of 
the ancient church from the time of the Arian 
controversy judged itself compelled to render 
the verb in the sense of jwssedit me (Vulg.), or 
EKTf/aaTo (thus the Vers. Venet. and even Aquila); 
and this turn of expression was given, that the 
idea of a creation of eternal Wisdom, or what 
was equivalent, of the personal Word of God, 
might be excluded. But against the rendering, 
"Jehovah possessed me," may be adduced, 1) 
the fact that the verb (^JP) does not signify 
simply "to possess," but "to attain to the pos- 
session," " to acquire," which latter signification 
would find here a poor application ; 2) the fact 
thattheadjunctof the verb (l^^l ri'tyx^) agrees 
better with the idea of creating than that of 
possessing; 3) that the double mention of W'is- 
dom's "being born," in vers. 24, 25, and not 
less the expression in ver. 23, "I was set up" 
("or wrought out"), corresponds better with the 
idea of a creation than with that of possessing 
or having ; and 4) that the parallel passages, 
Ecclesiast. i. 4, 9 ; xxiv. 8, which are evidently 

CHAP. VIII. 1-86. 


formed on the model of that before us, also em- 
ploy the verb k.tIC,elv (create), and not some such 
as sxstv or Ksurr/adai (have or possess). Even 
though accordingly the personal Wisdom is re- 
presented as one created at the beginning of the 
divine activity, not begotten, as a KTiafia, oh 
■yevvr/ua. Still we may by no means draw from 
this the conclusion of the correctness of the 
well-known Arian dogma that the Son of God is 
the first creation of (jrod. For the delineations 
of the whole passage before us are of a poetical 
nature, and are not adapted to a direct applica- 
tion in forming dogmatic conceptions ; and the 
personal Wisdom of our didactic poem is by no 
means simply identical with the Logos, or the 
Son of God. Comp. the Doctrinal notes. — 
"The beginning of His way" is a second accu- 
sative depending on the verb; "as beginning or 
first fruit of His way," i. e. His activity. His 
creative efficiency. His self-revelation. Instead 
of the singular, "His way," we ought perhaps, 
with the LXX, the Vulgate, and many recent 
expositors, especially Hitzio, to read in the 
plural "His ways" (1JTT) ; the parallel expres- 
sion "before His works" set^ms to speak de- 
cidedly for this reading. — Before his ■works. 

The v/ord here translated "works" (D"'7>'3p) 
occurs only here ; yet comp. the corresponding 
feminine form in Ps. xlvi. 9 (nT^J'flrp). The 
word translated "before" (0^1?.) Hitzig regards 
as also a substantive, synonymous with "begin- 
ning " (n'ti/X^), and therefore translates " as 
foremost of His works " Yet the conception of 
it as a proposition is favored by tJie usage of the 
0. T. elsewhere. — Of old (I»^^), long ago, liter- 
ally, "from long ago," comp Ps. xciii. 2. 

Ver. 23. From eternity. It seems neces- 
sary, with the expositors of the early church 
and many of recent times, such as Umbreit, 
Bertheau, Elster, etc., to regard this difficult 
verb which follows as a Niphal from ^DJ, and 
therefore to translate it " I was anointed," i. e. 
consecrated to a priestly royalty ; comp. the 
ordinata sum of the Vulgate. But the verb is not 
elsewhere used in this conjugation ; and the par- 
allelism with ver. 22, as well as with those fol- 
lowing, calls for a verb having some such mean- 
ing as " establish, create, call into being." It 
seems therefore needful to read with the LXX, 
«'Iwas established" {''I}''\D^2^" kd-sfieMucev fie"), 
or, which would be better advised, so to inter- 
pret the form in the text as (o give the idea of 
a being created, or something equivalent. To 
this end we may either translate, with the Versio 
Veneia, comparing Ecclesiastic, i. 9 {s^exeev 
avT7)v), Kexviini, " I was poured forth," or which 
is on the whole to be preferred, with Hitzig we 

may vary the punctuation Crii)^^), so that the 
expression shall stand as Perfect Niphal, of the 
verb IjDD, and have the signification "I was 
woven or wrought :" with this may be compared 
Ps. cxxxis. 15; Isa. xxxviii. 12. — From the 
beginning, from the foundation of the 
earth. " From the beginning," as in Isa. 
xlviii. 16. " The foundation of the earth," an 

expression like that occurring in Isa. xxiii. 7 
^r?.** ^?"!pJ. denoting the earliest primasval 
period, the time of the beginning, the origin of 
the earth. How this establishment or production 
of Wisdom "from the foundation of the earth" 
is to be understood, namely, in the sense of an 
existence of Wisdom even prior to the earth 
(comp. Ps. xc. 2), appears from the three follow- 
ing verses. 

Vor. 21. When there were as yet no 
floods. Hitzig regards the mention of the 
waters before the mountains as inappropriate, 
and therefore conjectures that the verse is spuri- 
ous. As though in Ps. civ. 6 and Job xxxviii. 8 
the seas were not mentioned immediately before 
the earth as a whole, and also before the moun- 
tains ! — Fountains abounding with water. 
The meaning is, doubtless, the springs from 
which the floods or the deep broke forth ; comp. 
Gen. vii. 11, and below, ver. 28. 

Ver. 25. Before the mountains wereas yet 
settled, with their "roots" (Job xxviii. 9) in the 
pliant earth ; comp. Job xxxviii. 0, where mention 
is made of the settling even of the pillars of the 
earth (in the infinite space of the heavens). With 
the second clause comp. Ps. xc. 2. — Land 
and plains. The LXX had in their day cor- 
rectly rendered r\Wn by aoiK/'/rovg [uninhabita- 
ble places] ; these are " unoccupied commons or 
plains," regions lying outside the occasionally 
occupied land (coinp. Job v. 10). — The first 
clods of the earth. Thus, with Hitzig, are 
we to understand this expression, and not "the 
sum or mass of the clods of the earth" (Coc- 
CEius, ScHiiLTENs. Bertheau, Elster, etc.); and 
still less "the first men" (Jarchi), or even 
" man as born of (he eaith" (Uaibreit); these 
last interpretations are plainly too far-fetched. 

6. Vers. 27-31. From the antemundane exist- 
ence x)f Wisdom the poet now passes over to the 
description of her active cooperation in the crea- 
tion of the world. The same progress from the 
pre-existence to the world-creating activity of 
the divine Logos is found in several passages of 
the N. T., especially in John i. 1-3, Col. i. 15-16. 
— When he stretched out the firmament 
over the deep, i. e. when He fixed the vault 
of heaven, the arch of heaven (comp. Gen. i. 8; 
Job xxii. 14), over the waters of the earth, as a 
barrier between the upper and lower waters 
(Gen. i. 6; Job xxvi. 10). Over the deep, in 
the Hebrew literally " upon the surface of the 
deep," comp. Gen. i. 2. 

Ver. 28. When he fixed the clouds 
above. Literally, " when He made firm, made 
strong" (12^^X3); /. e. the clouds are, as in Job 
xxvi. 8 ; xxxviii. 37, conceived of as bags, which 
only in case they are suitably secured and do 
not burst, prevent the mighty outpouring of the 
upper waters upon the earth. — When the 
fountains of the deep (see ver. 24 above) 
raged violently. This is the interpretation to 
be given, with Umbreit, Winer, Hitzig, etc.; 
for the verb here unquestionably has the in- 
transitive meaning, invalescere, vehementer agitari 
(comp. in Isa. xliii. 16 the "mighty waters "). 
The transitive signification, "when He made 
firm, i. e. restrained, bound up" (LXX; most 
of the other versions, and recent interpreters 



like Elster) is inadmissible from tlie absence 
of the suffix with the infinitive. 

Ver. 2'.). When he set to the sea its 
bounds. " Bound " here in its local sense, 
limit, barrier, as in Jer. v. 22; substantially the 
same as "its border" (VD) in the 2d member. 
For this expression (D'H '2) mouth or shore of 
the sea, instead of the phrase, elsewhere usual, 
"lip of the sea" (D'il r\2'y), as in Gen. xli. 3; 
comp. Isa. xix. 7 ; and for the description of the 
separation between the sea and the land in 
general, see Gen. i. 0, 10; Ps. xciv. 0.— When 
he settled the foundation pillars of the 
earth; end of the description of the earth's 
creation, comp. Job xxxviii. 6. 

Ver. :;0. Then was I at his side as direct- 
ress of the work. This nuun, derived fi'oin a 
verb (PJ<) signifying to be firm, true, reliable 
(and also kindred to {'??', dexter, "the right 
hand," yet not to be regarded as Hoffmann 
lakes it, Schriflheic, I. 9-3, as an infinitive abso- 
lute used adverbially, but necessarily as a sub- 
stantive), denotes like the parallel form found in 
Song Sol. vii. 2, '• artifi'x, artist, master of the 
work." [So WoRDSW., Hold., Muensch., Noyes; 
Stuart translates "confidant." — A.J Comp. 
the description, undoubtedly based on the pas- 
sage before us, found in Wisdom vii. 21 : I'j rwc 
■ndvruv Tcxvlrig cni'/:a ("wisdom which is the 
worker of all things") ; comp. the epithet apfi6- 
C,()vaa (adapting) in the LXX, and the cuncta 
componms of the Vulgate, in our passage. In 
opposition to the rendering of jlOX by " ios- 
iQV-c\iW&, alumnus, nutriciiis" (Aquila, Schul- 
TENS, RosENMUELLER, Elstek) may be urged 
first, that then in accordance with Lam. iv. 5 
we ought to point j'3J\, [which pointing Bott- 
cher favors, see § GGO, 6 and n. 1], and then, 
that this form could hardly have stood in the 
text as a substantive without some adjunct de- 
fining it more closely. The verb should be 
rendered, not "then became I" (Berthkau), 
but " then was I." For the existence of wisdom 
before the world's creation and at the time of the 
world's creation formed the principal subject of 
the preceding description, and not, e. g., her 
passing from previous rest to more active rela- 
tions. — And was delighted day by day. 
Literally, " I was delight day by day." This 
abstract noun plainly stands in the predicate 
quite as appropriately as the parallel term in the 
3d clause (the participle npntyo) and aims like 
this expression to indicate that wisdom enjoyed «nd 
delighted in her creative activity. For tlie idio- 
matic use of this abstract noun comp. e. g., Ps. 
cix. 4 (" but I am prayer") ; also notes on vii. 10 
above. — The verse following then declares that 
this her delight and exultation relates particu- 
larly to the manifold creatures of the earth, 
chiefly to man. The creative agency and control 
of the wisdom of God in the origin of the earth 
and its inhabitants, is therefore here represented 
as attended and sustained by the heartiest satis- 
faction in the natures that are created, especially 
in man, the persotial image of Goil ; and this is 
quite in harmony with the " God saw that it was 
goft4" of the six days of creation (Gen. i. 10, 

12, 18, 31): comp. also AVisdom vii. 22, 27, 
29 sq. A reference of these expressions in ver. 
31 to any period subsequent to the creation (Um- 
breit: " In his earth do 1 now delight and am 
the joy of the children of men," comp. Mer- 
CERUS and many of the elder interpreters, and 
also Luther), is suggested by nothing in the 
context, and is rather decidedly at variance with 
the connection. Not before ver. 32 does the 
author with "and now" return from the past to 
the present. When Hitzig feels constrained 
to strike out as spurious the second clause of 
ver. 30 ("and I was in joy of heart day by 
day"), and also the 1st clause of ver. 31 ("sport- 
ing in His earth"), this results from the fact that 
he has wholly missed the progressive character 
of the description, which giadually descends 
from God and His seat in the heavens to earth, 
and more specifically to the human race; just 
as, in his representation which shows throughout 
a peculiarly external and mechanical conception 
of the nature of wisdom, he maintains, "The 
1st clause of ver. 31 comes into contradiction 
with the first of ver. SO: for if wisdom is near 
Jehovah she cannot appropriately be at the same 
time disporting herself on the earth I " A 
mere hasty glance at the later representations 
of the nature and activity of the hypostatic 
AVisdom, like Wisd. vii. 8; Ecclesiast. xxiv., etc., 
might have convinced Hitzig of the superficial 
and untenable nature of sucli a view. Yet this 
is in trutli nothing more than the necessary fruit 
of his entire rationalistic view of God and the 

7. Vers. 32-36. Concluding admonition and 
promise, based on ver. 22-31 as well as ver. 1-21. 
— Ver. 33. Hear instruction, etc. Hitzig 
would have this whole verse stricken out 
"because it has no rhythm," and because it 
comes in only as a disturbing element between 
the benedictions in ver. 32, 2d clause, and ver. 
3i. But the lack of rhythm that is asserted rests 
on the conception of the subjective taste: and 
the position between two benedictions produces 
no distraction whatever; all the more since to 
the first and shorter of these two sentences be- 
ginning with "Blessed," a corresponding admo- 
nition had been prefixed, ver. 32, 1st clause. — ■ 
And be not rebellious. Thus with Umbreit, 
Elster, etc., must we understand the prohibition 

without a grammatical object (1>'"J2n 7X1). To 
supply from the 1st clause the idea "instruc- 
tion" is unnecessary, especially since the intran- 
sitive " and be wise " had been interposed as the 
immediate antithesis to the verb " refuse, or re- 
bel." For the etymology and signification of 
this verb (i'"»3) see, furthermore, notes on i. 25. 
Ver. 34. That hearkeneth to me, watch- 
ing, e^c. The expression, " so that he watch" 

Oti^^) like the following phrase "so that he 
keep," expresses not so much the design as the 
result of hearkening to wisdom ; these expres- 
sions give, as it were, the manner of this heark- 
ening, and thus correspond with the ablative of 
the gerund in Latin, or with the pres. participle 
(LXX: aypvTTvuv — T?ipuv). — For whosoever 
findeth me, findeth life. This is in accord- 
ance with the K'ri. The K'thibh is somewhat 

CHAP. VIII. l-"6. 


more artificial, " for the finders of Die are fiinlers 
of life," i. e., those who tiud lue, they tiiid life. 
One may choose between the two readings which 
in import do not differ. [lluiiTSCHi proposes 
{Slud. u. Krit., Jan. 18(38, p. 134) to solve the 
difficulty in another way, retaining the conso- 
nants of the K'thibh, but modifying the punctu- 
ation, so that tlie two furms will be singular and 
apparently identical ('i^JJfOJ, the second being 
a form artificially constructed with ^~ as a 
"union vowel," (Ewald, ^ 211, b, 1), so as to 
secure the juxtaposition of two forms apparently 
the same. — A.]. — And obtain favor from Je- 
hovah. Literally "'and draws forth," i.e., 
gains for himself, harvests, bears away. 

Ver. 3ij. And -whosoever sinneth against 
me. Literally '-wlio misseth me" in coutrast 
with "who findeth me" in ver. 35. Comp. .Job 
V. 24 ; Judges xx. 16. — All they that hate me 
love death. Comp. iv. 13, 22; vii. 27, and 
also Ezek. xviii. 31. 


1. For a correct understanding of the section 
before us two ihings in general are to be ob- 
served: 1) that the entire discourse is poetical, 
and that tlierefore the personification of Wisdom 
■which forms its chief subject is also to be re- 
garded as essentially, and in the first instance, 
the product of a bold poetical sweep of thought, 
and of a vivid oriental imagery; 2) that, how- 
ever, because of the solemn earnestness and pro- 
foundly religious character of the discourse, its 
figurative element cannot possibly be viewed as 
the mere play of fancy; or an empty ringing of 
phrases, but must rather every where stand in 
more or less exact harmony with the supersen- 
suous truth that is to be set forth. Wisdom, 
which here appears personified, as the principle 
of the world's creation, as well as of its preser- 
Tation and government, having sprung from God 
himself, and being absolutely supernatural, is no 
unsubstantial phantom, no unreal fiction of the 
fancy, no poetic creation without an underlying 
higher reality. It is rather a result of the pro- 
foundest religious and ethical inquiry, an object 
of the purest and most genuine knowledge of di- 
yine things, nay a product of divine revelation — 
only that this revelation has here passed through 
the medium of a poetic conception and repre- 
sentation, and for that very reason appears in its 
formal relations partially reflected, l)roken, or 
inaccurately exhibited. It is really tlu- free po- 
etic form, ideal in its portraiture, to wiiich must 
be charged whatever in the statements before us 
is partially inadequate, inconsistent, and not di- 
rectly applicable in the formation of dogmatic 
ideas. Tiie substance, which is easily separable 
from this form, bears the impress of the most 
genuine divinely revealed trutli, and forms one 
of the most important and strongest of tlie foun- 
dation pillars of Old Testament theology, on 
which the theology and Christolcgy of the New 
Testament is reared, the doctrine of the Trinity 
in the ancient church, and indeed the whole glo- 
rious structure of Christian dogmatics. — Comp. 
Sr.vuor.xMAiER, Die Lehre von der Idee, pp. 31 sq., 
and particularly NiTZSCH, Ueber die wets entl. Drei- 

einifjkeil Gotlcs (Letter to Lucke, in the Slud. und 
Kril., 1841, ii. ; especially pp. 310 sq.). 

2. In thepictuie of wisdom drawn in our chap- 
ter the two conceptions of tlie divine wisdom, and 
the wisdom of tlie creature, or of the celestial 
type of the Hhokniah and its earthly and human 
counterpart, are plainly so combined that they 
more or less flow into each o'tlier, and without a 
clear .discrimination of their difference inter- 
change, (as in the shorter description of the pro- 
tection and blessing going forih from Gods ci'ea- 
tive wisdom for those who honor it, — chap. iii. 
19-2(j). That wisdom is at the outset introduced 
as teaching and preaching (vers. 1 sq.), siiows 
at once tliat she is regarded essentially as a self- 
conscious personal being, as a reflection there- 
fore of the absolute personality, or the Godhead. 
And even within the first section (vers. 4-21), 
which refers in tlie first instance only to her ma- 
nifestations in the moral and religious life of 
man, several features suggest the supernatural 
in her nature and relations. Thus especially the 
predicates "counsel, understanding, strength," 
(in ver. 14) with which she is endowed as the 
Messiah is in Isa. xi. 2. So also the allusion to 
the fact that she imparts to and preserves for the 
kings, rulers, princes, and judges of the earth, 
all their power (vers. 15, l(j) ; and finally, with 
no less plainness, the declaration that she " lovee 
them that love her," and accordingly shows her- 
self to be the dispenser of all benefits and bles- 
sings to her faithful ones (ver. 16-21). Of a 
purely earthly and creature principle all this 
could not be asserted. It is plainly not an ab- 
stract conception of moral philosophy, or any de- 
finition pertaining to the moral and intellectual 
conduct of men, that is thus described, but some- 
thing higher, a nature fundamentally identical 
with the divine providence, the activity of God 
iu preserving and ruling the world, — a personal 
principle belonging to God's revelation of Him- 
self, which is not essentially different from the 
Logos of the New Testament or the Son of God. 

This conception of the idea of a superhuman 
wisdom, which determines and controls witli ab- 
solute power and knowledge the destinies of our 
race, conducts, however, immediately to the pro- 
per and hypostatic representation of Wisdom as 
an emanation from God's eternal nature, as the 
partaker and mediator in His absolutely creative 
activity. From the description of Wisdom as the 
mediating principle in divine Providence (vers. 
14-21), the poet passes to the exhibition of her 
mediating participation in the creation of the 
world, and in this connection he reveals in the 
same act the deepest sources and beginnings of 
her nature (vers. 22-31). Wisdom is, it is true, 
also a creation of God, but one coming into being 
before all other creatures, a "first born" (tt/jw- 
ToiiTiarov) a "beginning of the creation of God" 
{apxr/ Ttjc KTiaeuQ tov •&eov), comp. Rev. iii. 14. 
And for that very reason she took part in His 
work of creation; she was not merely witness, 
but helper in the revelation of His power in the 
primitive creation that called His heavens and 
earth into being. She manifested herself as the 
regulative and formative principle, who in those 
mighty acts of creation "rejoiced before Him," 
i. e., developed before Him in free, happy action, 
as it were iu joyous sport and play, her infinitely 



rich life, and thus produced an infinite number 
and variety of creature forms. This creative ac- 
tivity of wisdom found however its end and its 
completion in the creation of men in whom she 
has her deliglit in an altogether pre-eminent de- 
gree (ver. 31) for they are called to be lier con- 
scious recipients, and under lier enliglitening in- 
fluence to grow up into a walk in holy fellow.ship 
\vith God. Precisely for this reason the posses- 
sion of wisdom, i. e., in the first instance that 
comparative, creative wisdom which is identical 
with tlie fear of God and righteousness, is the 
sum of all that can be recommended to man as 
the means to the attainment of the highest tem- 
poral and eternal welfare. For this relative 
■wisdom is in fact nothing but the reflection and 
emaiiiition of that which is absolute. It is the 
absolute divine wisdom as this has found its in- 
dividual reflection in the life of individual man, 
— the eternal wisdom of God entering into the 
subjective conditions of man, and so becoming 
crcatural. Wlien the concluding verses of the 
chapter (vers. 32—36) emphatically advise the ob- 
taining of this wisdom which has thus become 
mundane and human, and point to the blessed 
consequences of its possession, they seize again 
upon that which was the starting-point in the 
whole admonition, and show how the secondary 
wisdom is derived from the primitive and con- 
ducts again to it, how the same holy life-power 
infinite in its perfection, which was active in the 
first creation of the world and of man, must also 
be eSicient in their moral recreation and their 
perfecting after God's likenes.s. Couip. St.\uden- 
MAiER, as cited above, p. 38: "The eminence of 
man consists not merely in tlie fact that wisdom 
comes in him to self-consciousness, but also in 
the fact that by the Creator tiiere has been con- 
ferred upon him in the gift of freedom the power 
to become as it were the second creator of his 
own life according to the innate divine idea. 
This idea appears therefore now a practical one: 
tlie impulse to become practical existed already 
in its living energy, or was this very energy ; 
and with this it is at the same time clear that 
man with his freedom has pre-eminently a prac- 
tical religious and moral problem set before him. 
Since however by this very freedom he also has 
it in his power not to follow his destination, and 
even to resist it, Wisdom appeals to him to hear 
her voice, and does this as she speaks to him 
botli from within and from without, — from within 
by ideas (through the voice of reason and con- 
science), from without, through divine revelation 
in which absolute wisdom dwells." 

3. This representation of wisdom as a personal 
principle mediating between God and man, ex- 
isting in God as the prototype, in man in the an- 
titype, plainly stands in the closest relationship 
to the doctrine of the Logos in the New Testa- 

* Comp. NiTZSCH as cited aliovo : " Do yon see here no traco 
of a divine process i\ fierin of an ontologieul sell-distiuction 
in (ioJ? Fur this Wisiloni is initeeil a first Goil's coMiMiiini- 
cation localized in tlie world, particularly in man, and still 
more especially in Isra'-l. Yet it will lie understood as no 
mi-re cre.iture like otiiers. no ani;-l, no dependent jjoweror 
effect; it claims to lie known an<l lionori'd in its divinity. 
Without exhausting the idea of divinity it claims to bo Ood 
of God — ",Ichoval> created nio " — a creation which arrordiu'j; 
to the connection gives no natural, creaturely liein;j; but 
lias a significance plainly trausceudiug these bounds, e<c.'' — 

The connection, it is true, with a right exege- 
sis of the main points involved (see notes on vers. 
22, 23, and 30, above), does not reach so far that 
wisdom is described outright as a child of God, be- 
gotten in eternity and " anointed," i. c, solemnly 
consecrated and sealed, — and so is attended by 
those characteristic predicates with which Christ 
describes His absolutely unique metaphysical 
relation as Son to God (.John x. 36; v. 26; xvii. 
5; comp. i. 1, 18). And yet when she also is 
declared to have been created as beginning of the 
ways of God, there are surely not wanting em- 
phatic intimations that her character is abso- 
lutely above that of creatures in both respects, 
that whicli concerns her coming into being be- 
fore all creatures, and also her intimate fellow- 
ship of essence and of life with God. While fur- 
thermore the primseval consecration to be a ruler 
overall things, to the ranks of a priestly regal 
mediatorship between God and His creation is 
not lo be found among the points expressly em- 
phasized in the description of Wisdom, yet the 
way in which she is described in vers. 14-16, as 
possessor and dispenser of all sovereign power 
and wisdom, reminds us distinctly enough of the 
omnipotence in heaven and earth that is given to 
the Son, and of His being endowed with the un- 
divided fulness of the Divine Messiah- Spirit, — 
which Isaiah in his day pronounces a spirit of 
all wisdom and understanding, all counsel, all 
strength, knowledge, and holy fear (Isa. xi. 2; 
comp. John iii 34; Matth. xxviii. 18), And al- 
though, finally, the name "son" or "child" is 
not given to her, and the "exultation" in the 
presence of God at the time of His creative ac- 
tivity, cannot fitly be conceived of as the intima- 
tion of a relation in any way like that existing 
between a sportive favorite child and his father, 
still the appellation "directress of the work" 
characterizes this being distinctly enough as a 
personal emanation from the very nature of God. 
And a mediatorial particip.ition not only in the 
creative, but also in the redemptive and sancti- 
fying activity of God is suggested, if only in gen- 
tle intimation, by what is said of her "delight in 
the sons of men." To thsse points of correspon- 
dence which are presented in the chief individual 
features of the picture in Prov. viii. 22 sq., there 
may be added several unmistakable allusions to 
our chapter found in tlie New Testament. Among 
these the essential identity of the creative wisilom 
of God that is here described, with the Logos or 
the pre-existent Christ stands out most distinctly. 
When our Lord in Matth. xi. 19 (Luke vii. 3.3) 
and probably also in Luke xi. 49 (comp. Van 
OosTERZfiE on this passage) designates himself as 
tiie "Wisdom of God," and at the same time 
speaks of "children of this wisdom," meaning 
b\- this the men who are subject to her revealing 
and enlightening influence, especially the .lews, 
as having been Divinely influenced by law and 
prophecy. He can have chosen this mode of des- 
ignating Himself only with His eye upon the 
IJiblicai delineations that were familiar to His 
hearers ; and to these, beside Ecclcsiasticus 
xxiv. and Wisdom vii.-ix., etc., the passage be- 

The truth of this representation holds also as against that 
which Vox Hor.M\NM (S-/i)il'll>no . 1. pp. UJsq.) his lir.iu^ht 
forward in support of the ojiposite view, i.e., that which de- 
nies tliu hypostatic nature of wisdom ia our passage. 

CHAP. A^III. 1-37. 


fore lis would pre-eminently belong. When .John 
ascribes to the Divine Logos botli alike, the act- 
ing as medium of the activity of God in tbe crea- 
tion of the world, and the accomplishment of His 
enlightening and saving efiBciency on the world, — 
when he in doing this distinctly characterizes 
the Logos not as a mere attribute or impersonal 
reason of God, but as a hyf)ostasis self-conscious 
and freely coming Ibrth from the absolute ground 
of the Divine essence, as a Divine personality 
seeking incarnation (John i. 1-18), the harmony 
of this description of his vvitn (Solomon's praise 
of the Divine Wisdom cannot have continued to 
be merely unconscious. And this is all tlie less 
possible, from the consideration that this wisdom 
had already before his time ami in manifold in- 
stances been designated by the name A(i;or, c. g., 
Ecclesiast. i. 4 (comp. xxiv. 3), Wisdom, ix. 1. 
When Paul in numerous passages asserts the 
same of his pre-existent Christ (especially 1 Cor. 
viii. 6; Col. i. 15 sq.; Phil. ii. 5 sq.), among the 
passages from the Old Testament lying at the 
foundation of his views in this matter, Prov. viii. 
2li sq., cannot have been wanting. And further- 
more his designation of the Son as the " Wisdom 
of God" (I Cor. i. 24, 30; comp. llom. xiii. 27 ; 
Col. ii. 3) cannot have developed itself on any 
other basis. The same liolds finally also of the 
author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (see Heb. 
i. 2sq.), as well as of the writer of the Apocalypse, 
who, by his emphatic use of the name of the Lo- 
gos (Uev. xix. 13), shows himself plainly enough 
to be no other than the Evangelist Jolin. His 
peculiar designation of Christ, already adduced 
above, as '• the beginning of the creation of 
God" (chap. iii. 14) may perhaps be viewed out- 
right as a literal allusion to verse 22 of our 

If this were the case, the idea of a "beginning 
of the creation of God" would by no means for 
tliat reason require to be interpreted in the Arian 
sense. For in an author who elsewhere adopts 
the doctrine of the Logos the representation of 
Christ as the first creature of God would palpably 
be a monstrosity. John can in this expression 
intend to designate the Lord only as tlie active 
principle in the creation (comp. Duesterdieck 
on this passage). In just this active sense shall 
we be obliged to interpret the expression which 
possibly suggested John's language, — the "be- 
ginning of the ways of Jehovah " in our chapter, 
i. e., as relating to that activity of the eternal 
Wisdom of God which commenced His manifesta- 
tion of Himself in creation, its mediating coo2:)e- 
ration in God's world-creating act (see remarks 
on this passage above). 

4. The only noteworthy difference between the 
idea of the Logos in the New Testament, and the 
hypostatic Wisdom of our passage consists, there- 
fore, in the decidedly created character ascribed 
to the latter by the expression "Jehovah created 
me" in ver. 22, and the parallel expression in 
ver. 23. Our teacher of wisdom in the Old Tes- 

* We here presuppose the spnrions character of the 
6/c»cA)j(7ias (which, besidt-s, was early e.xpungeil by the cor- 
rectors of tho text) staniling in the place of (CTiVeco; in tlie 
Cud. Sin If this remarkable reading were genuine, the 
meaning of the expres.sion would certainly be altogether dif- 
ferent. But tbe assumption can hardly be avoided that there 
is here an attempted emendation in the interest of the Anti- 
monarchians or Auti-arians. I 

tament, near as he may have come to the idea, 
was therefore unable to rise to an altogether 
clear discernment of the relation existing between 
God and His eternal Word, who in all His like- 
ness of nature is yet personally distinct, and 
while appearing as the " first-born of every crea- 
ture," still on the other hand appears also as the 
only begotten Son of the living God, or as eternal 
personal emanation from the Divine essence. 
The hypostatic Hhokmah of our author (and also 
the 2o0;a of the Apocrypha, which differs from it 
in no essential characteristic) appears accord- 
ingly as an imperfect introduction and prepara- 
tion for the idea of the Logos in the New Testa- 
ment, the conception not having yet reached a 
full symmetrical development. So also the 
"Spirit of God" in the prophetic literature of 
the 0. T. shows itself to be the prototype, the 
germinal basis for the irvsiifia ayinv of the N. T., 
this distinctly personal third Divine agent m 
salvation, with the Father and the Son.* 

In any event, however, this conception stands 
much nearer to the idea of the Logos or the Son 
in the New Testament, and contributed more di- 
rectly to its development, than that personificatiou 
of the creative " word of Jehovah" which appears 
here and there in Psalmists and prophets (e. r/., 
Vs. xxxiii. G; cxlvii. 15; Is. Iv. 11, etc.). For 
this last expression has, after all, no other value 
than poetic figures in general, hastily thrown 
out. The Hhokmah of our passage, however, is, 
notwithstanding the poetic character of its 
drapery, a conception developed with the great- 
est care, a fruit of profound and consecrated 
speculation, a bright ray of Divine revelation, 
which, among the xMessianic prophecies of the 
0. T. that relate to the Divine siile of the Re- 
deemer's nature, holds one of the most conspicuous 
places. Comp. Nitzsch, as above cited, pp. 319, 

[5. The error in our English exegetical and 
theological literature with respect to our passage 
lias been, we think, the attempt to force upon it 
more of distinctness and precision in the revela- 
tion of the mysteries of the Divine nature than is 
disclosed by a fair exegesis. Sometimes it is the 
doctrine of the Logos that is made to .stand out 
with all the clearness of the New Testament an- 
nouncement ; sometimes it is " the eternal gene- 
ration of the Son" that Solomon is made, as the 
Spirit's mouthpiece, to reveal. Owen's elaborate 
arguments (Comm. on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
Exercitation xxvii.), and Holuen's extended and 
learned comments (Comm. in loc), appear to us 
very plainly to err in this excess. If it be not 
unworthy of the Holy Spirit to employ a bold 
and graphic personification, many things in this 
chapter may be said of and by the personified 
Wisdom, which these and other similar authors 
regard as triumphantly proving that we have 
here the pre-existent Christ, the Son of God. 
How weak would that personification be which 
did not ascribe to the imagined person Iia/e, love, 
power, etc. (see Holden) ! Why cannot a personi- 
fied attribute, if the personification be at all 
successful, be represented as being born, as being 
by or near the Deity, as rejoicing in His sight, 
etc. (see Holden again) ? And yet we need not 

* Comp. also subsequent notes on ch. sxx. 3sq. 



go so far as Owen and say, "A personal transac- 
tion before the creation of the world, between 
the Father and the Son, acting materially by 
their One Spirit, concerning the state and condi- 
tion of mankind, with respect to Divine love and 
favor, is that which we inquire after, and which 
is here fully expressed." Woudswortii not 
agreeing with G£s.';xius, etc., in regard to the 
primary meaning of the much debated DJp* 
admitting that it originally signifi?s acquire, 
nevertheless agrees wiiii Gesen., Hui'feld (?), 
NoYES, Stuart and others in here rendering 
it "created," because he wants an "eternal 
generation" as the product of his exegesis, — a 
product far enough from the thoughts of most of 
thosj who agree with him in his rendering. We 
can, to say the least, go no farther th.m our au- 
thor has done in discovering here the foresha- 
dowiiigs of the doctrine of the Logos. We are 
inclined to prefer the still more guarded state- 
ments, e. (J., of Dr. J. Pye Smith [Scripture Tes- 
timon;i to the Messiah, I., ooi), that this beautiful 
picture "cannot be satisfactorily proved to be a 
designed description of the Saviour's person ;" 
or that of Dr. John Haiiris (Sermon on Prov. 
viii. 30-3(1). "At all events, while, on the one 
hand, none can demonstrate that Christ is here 
directly intended, — on the other, none cunprove 
that He is not contemplated; and perhaps both 
will admit that under certain conditions language 
such as that in our text may be justifiably applied 
to Him. One of these conditions is, that the 
language be not employed argumenlatively, or in 
proof oi any thing relating to Christ, but only for 
the purpose of illustration; and another is that 
when so employed, it be only adduced to illus- 
trate such views of the Son of God as are already 
established by such other jjarts of Scripture as 
are admitted by the parties addressed." — A.] 


Ilomily on the entire chapter. See the translation 
above, andcomp. STiicKEii: The heavenly Wisdom 
which is the word of God is urgently commended 
to us: 1) by the good opportunity which we have 
to study it (vers. 1-5) ; '1) by the rich blessing 
that it brings us (vers. C-L!l) ; 3) by the eminence 
and majesty of the teaclier who teaches it, and 
who is no other than Christ, the eternal Son of 
God (vers. 22-36). — Starke : The true Wisdom's 
invitation of all men to the Kingdom of God: 1) 
the invitation itself (vers. 1-10); 2) the induce- 
ments to give heed to it, namely: a) the inesti- 
mable value of wisdom (vers. 11, 12); b) the 
blessings of those who accept her invitation to 
the Kingdom of tJod (vers. 13-36). — Calwtr 
Ilandljiich : Wisdom commends herself: 1) in 
general (vers. 1-5) ; 2) by her truthfulness (vers. 
6-9) ; 3) by tiie prudence, understanding, honor 
and power that she imparts to her followers 
(vers. 10-21); 4) by her eternal existence, her 
participation in the creation, her deliglit in the 
fionsofmen (vers. 22-3*)). — Woiii.fauth : Wisdom 
the truest and best friend of men, her doors 
(ver. 34) standing open day by day to every one 
that needs and desires her. 

*[For a, very full and candid discussion of this with other 
related points, see an article by Prof. K. P. Borrows, Biblioth. 
Sacra, April, 1858; also, Liddon's Bamp. Lectures, pp. 60, IJl. 

Vers. 1-11. Egabd:— The Eternal Son of God 
gathers, plants, builds His Church by a voice, 
i. e., His word. All true teachers of the word 
are crying voices through which Christ calls. — 
Out of Christ's school is no true wisdom ; they 
who deem themselves wise and shrewd are unfit- 
ted to learn of Him. — So long as Christ's wisdom 
is still speaking outside of thee it avails thee 
nothing; but Vifheu thou allowest it to dwell in 
thee it is thy light and thy life. — Thou shouldst 
have one heart and one mouth with Christ; if 
false and perverse things are found in thy mouth 
thou art still far from Christ. — Silver and gold 
is mere vanity and nothingness; what can it 
help in the day of wrath and judgment? Let 
God's word be thy highest and best treasure — 
Berlcb. Bible: Wisdom (who speaks to us not 
only through the word written and preached, but 
also inwardly, as God's voice in our hearts) is so 
far from keeping silence, that although we stop 
our ears, we yet hear her correction within at 
the entrances and doors of the heart; and al- 
though we will not understand her, we must ne- 
vertheless feel her. And this is a testimony how 
desirous God is of our blessedness. 

Vers. 12-21. Mei.anohthon (on vers. 14 sq.): 
Those counsels are just which agree with the 
word of God ; and these counsels will at length 
have joyful issues, with the aid of the Sou of 
God, who wills to aid those that continue in the 
word which He has given, and who call upon 
Him. — Luther (marginal comment on vers. 15, 
10): "Princes should act, speak, work, honora- 
bly and praiseworthily, that men niay glory in 
and follow their example ; and not as the tyrants, 
the foul, the cyclops," etc. — Hasius : AVhen true 
wisdom is taken into counsel in every thing, then 
in all ranks that will occur which each one's 
purpose demands according to a perfect ideal. 
Kings, princes, nobles, counsellors will act in 
conformity with the aim of their calling (2 
Chrou. xix. 6, 7). — Things would stand much 
better in the world if men exercised their spirit 
more after holiness, and strove with greater zeal 
for wisdom, Matth. vi. 33. — Berleburg Bible: 
No one can rightfully take to himself the name 
of a Christian ruler, but he who subjects himself 
in spirit and truth, in humble obedience to the 
control of the Almighty, lays himself at His feet 
and allows himself to be wholly ruled by Him. 
Others exercise a rude, violent and tyrannical 
control, and an assumed authority over the per- 
son of men. — Von Gerlach : The wisdom who 
here announces herself is the very wisdom of 
God, and is therefore also, as all good can be 
from God alone, the soul of all good laws and 
ordinances (vers. 14-17), and must, as every 
thing earthly is ruled, disposed and rightly dis- 
tributed among men by God, necessarily reward 
her disciples with welfare, honor and riches 
(vers. 18-21). [Ver. 12. Charnock: All arts 
among men are the rays of Divine wisdom shining 
upon them. Whatsoever wisdom there is in the 
world, it is but a shadow of the wisdom of God. — 
Ver. 13. Arnot: To fear retribution is not to 
hate sin ; in most cases it is to love it with the 
whole heart. It is when sin is forgiven that a 
sinner can hate it. Then he is on God's side. 
Instead of hating God for his holiness, the for- 
given man instinctively loathes the evil of his 

CHAP. IX. 1-18. 


own he:irt. — Jona. Edwards : " The affection of 
hatred as having sin for its object is spolceii of in 
Scripture as no inconsiderable part of true reli- 
gion. It is spoken of as that by wiiicli true re- 
ligion may be known and distinguished." — Ver. 
15. Bp. Sanderson: On the etiicient cause and 
consequent obligation of human law. — Hooker: 
"By me kings reign," e/c. Not as if men did 
behold that book and accordingly frame their 
laws; but because it worketh in them, because it 
discovereth and (as it were) readeth itself to the 
world by them, when the laws which they make 
are righteous. — Ver. 18. Arnot : The riches 
which the King of saints imparts along with the 
patent of nobility to support its dignity withal, 
are linked to righteousness and last forever. 
Handfuls are gotten on the ground, but a soulful 
is not to be had except in Christ.] 

Vers. 22-31. Geier: — From this delineation 
there follows: 1) the personal difference of the 
Son from the Father; 2) the essential likeness 
of the Son to the Father, as partaker of the Di- 
vine activiiy in creation; 3) the unutterable love 
of the Father to the Son (ver. 80?) ; -1) the deep 
and grateful love which we in turn owe to this 
Divinely loved director and mediator in creation 
and redemption. — Zeltner: All the works of 
God's omnipotence and wisdom thou sliouldst 
contemplate with holy joy and wonder, praise 
the Creator for them, and with them strengthen 
thyself in faith in His paternal providence. — As 
an essential and indescribable fellowship exists 
between the Father and the Son, so does there 
exist between God and the believer a gracious 
spiritual union, on which the Christian must be 
most intent. — Starke : All things have had their 
beginning except the Son of God regarded in 
His Divine nature. He is with the Father and 
the Holy Ghost true God from everlasting to 
everlasting. All that this Eternal Wisdom does 
in the kingdom of nature, as well as in that of 
grace, she does with gladness and delight: yea, 
there is in this work so lovely and wise an alter- 
nation and manifolduess, that we must in reason 

wonder at it (comp. Eph. iii. 10, "the manifold 
wisdom of God"). — Von Gerlach : — That 
"play" of wisdom in which the Lord takes 
pleasure, and her joyousness on the earth, in 
which she finds her joy among men, points to 
the childlike gladness of the love that ruled in 
creation, and to the confidential relation into 
which the children of wisdom on earth (Matth. 
xi. 19) enter, to her the very wisdom of God ; 
comp. Prov. x. 23. In this passage there is a most 
clearly prophetic gleam of the light of the New 
Testament; God's eternal wisdom comes forth 
from Him that He may delight Himself in her ac- 
tivity ; His own eternal nature the Father for his 
own blessedness contemplates in the Son. And 
it is in a love most intimately blended with wis- 
dom that the Father created the world, to His 
own blessedness and that of His creatures. 

Vers. 32-36. Geier : The true fruits of obe- 
dience should follow the hearing of the word. 
To these belong: 1) walking the prescribed way; 
2) willing reception of the Divine correction ; 3) 
the extirpation of all inner opposition ; 4) zealous 
and persistent seeking after salvation ; 5) thank- 
ful enjoyment of the true wisdom when found. — 
Von Gerlach (on vers. 34 sq): Wisdom here 
appears as a sovereign, separate and secluded 
in the style of Oriental monarchs, so that only 
those know any thing of her who diligently keep 
watch at her doors. Wisdom, who is universal in 
her call and invitation (vers. 1-3), yet in the 
course of communication, in order to test the 
fidelity of her admirers, veils herself at times in 
a mysterious darkness, and reveals herself only 
to those who never intermit their search (Matth. 
vii. 7) — [John Howe: There ouglit to be an ex- 
pectation raised in us that the vital savor dif- 
fused in and by the word may reach us; and 
many are ruined for not expecting it, not wailing 
at the posts of wisdom's door. — Trapp: Hear, 
etc. This way wisdom enters into the soul. 
Hear, therefore, for else there is no hope; hear, 
howsoever. — Flavel : It is good to lie in the path 
of the Spirit.] 

15. Allegorical exhibition of the call of men to the possession and enjoyment of true wisdom, 
under the figure of an invitation to two banquets. 

Chap. IX. 1-18. 

a) The banquet of wisdom: Vers. 1-12. 

"Wisdom hath builded her house, 
she hath hewn out her seven pillars, 
hath slaughtered her beasts, spiced her wine, 
hath also spread her table ; 
hath sent out her maidens ; she inviteth 

on the highest points (stiramits of the high places) of the city: 
" Whosoever is simple, let hiiu come hither !" — 
Whoso lacketh understand in j;, to him she saith: 



5 " Come, eat of my bread 

and drink of the wine I have mixed! 

6 Forsake the simple, and live, 

and walk in the way of understanding. 

7 He who correcteth a scorner draweth upon himself insult, 
and he who rebuketh the wicked, it is his dishonor. 

8 Reprove not the scorner lest he hate thee ; 
admonish the wise and he will love thee. 

9 Give to the wise and he becometh yet wiser, 
instruct the upright and he learneth yet more. 

10 The beginning of wisdom is the fear of Jehovah, 
and knowledge of the Holy (one) is understanding. 

11 For by me will thy days become many, 
and the years of thy life will increase. 

12 Art thou wise, thou art wise for thyself, 

and if thou scornest thou alone shalt bear it." 

b) The banquet of Folly : Vers. 13-18. 

13 A simple woman (and) clamorous, 

is Folly, and knoweth nothing whatsoever. 

14 She sitteth at the door of her house 
enthroned in the high places of the city, 

15 to invite the wayfarers 

who go straight on their ways : 

16 " Whosoever is simple let him come hither !" — 
whoso lacketh understanding to him she saith : 

17 "Stolen waters are sweet, 

and bread taken in secret is pleasant," 

18 and he knoweth not that the dead are there, 

in the depths of hell (the lower world) her guests. 


Ver.3. [BoTTCHER cites 'D'lD as illustrating a peculiar Hebrew idiom by which the emphatic plural of generic de- 
signations of persons, places and things is used for the singular with an indefinite article, which the Hebrew lacked, and 
only in its later periods licgan to supplement by the numeral. He would therefore translate " on one of the high places 
of the city." See Ausfilhrl. Lefirb., g 702, d.]. 

Vers. i. [ID'i »" example of the "consultive" use of the Jussive form (see BuHl. g 964, 2), which under the intlu- 

ence of the succeeding word retains the u vowel (§ 956, g,—^ 1132, 3), the ordinary Jussive being lb'- mOX Perf con- 

T T ; -IT 

sec. employed, as it sometimes is in the lively discourse of oratory and poetry, without the connective 1 , B. g 974]. 

Ver. 9. [DDiTI, ^DVI, examples of Jussive with 1 consec, in the "consecutive-affirmative" sense, as giving an 

assured result. Bott. ^ 904. a.]. 

Ver. 13. [no is regarded by Bottcher also as an indefinite, quidquid or quidquam, (g 899, e), as it is by Gesenics and 

FCERST. Gesen. however finds a different shade of meaning in the verb, and translates " and careth for nothing "]. 

Ver. 16. [niDNI, an e.\:ample of the Perf. consec. in the sense of the " IHe7is solitum," the " future " with the ideaof 
T : T : 

customary action. B"iTT. § 981, B. /3.]. 

pillars suggests the splendor of the completed 
building. The sevenfold number represents this 
as a sacred work ; for seven stands here, as it so 
frequently does in the Old and New Testaments, 
as a sacred number (comp. my article " Siehen- 
zahr' in Herzog's Theol. Real-Enci/cL, XIV. 353 
sq.). The house of the celestial SVisdom is by 
this peculiar and emblematic description repre- 
sented, as it were, in advance, as a temple, and 
tlie banquet offered in it as a sacred sacrificial 
meal. Special significance in the seven pillars, 
f. ^r., in connection witli the seven attributes of 
the higher wisdom enumerated in James iii. 17; 
or the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit referred to 
in Rev. i. 4, 12 sq. ; iii. 1 ; iv. 6 ; v. 6, etc. (Vi- 


1. Vers. 1-3. Wisdom hath builded her 

bouse. The figure of the building of a liouso 
which is readily suggested by the appellation 
" director of the work " in chap. viii. 30, appro- 
priately provides for a transition from the de- 
scription of the agency of eternal Wisdom in the 
creation of the world, to that here symbolized as 
an invitation to a banquet, — her activity among 
men, summoning and morally instructing them. 
Comp. chap. xiv. 1. — The designation of Wisdom 
(nirDDH) is the same as in i. 20. — Hath hewn 
out her seven pillars. X^^is hewing out of 

CHAP. IX. 1-18. 



LACH, etc.), or the seven principia deductiva Ethi- 
ces divinse (according to S. Bohlius, comp. re- 
marks above, p. 74, note), or finally, the first 
seven chapters of the Book of Wisdom now be- 
fore us, — all this is indicated by nothing what- 
ever in the context, and is therefore wholly ar- 
bitrary. The suffix in n"1^3^, since r\^3 is 

usually masc, seems to refer to Wisdom as the 
subject of the proposition, — her, not its seven 

Ver. 2. Hath slaughtered her beasts. 
Notwithstanding the sacred character of the ban- 
quet, nn^p is still not to be necessarily trans- 
lated " her victims," but signifies "that which is 
slaughtered," slain animals in general. There 
is probably no reference to vii. 14. — The "mix- 
ing of the wine " seems not to refer to a mere 
mixing of wine with water, but to the prepara- 
tion of a strong spiced wine with myrrh, etc. ; 
comp. Isa. V. 22; Prov. xxiii. 30, etc. 

Ver. 3. She inviteth on the highest points 
of the city, i. e., so that her servants must as- 
cend the highest elevations of the city (not spe- 
cifically the roofs of palaces), from which their 
calls of invitation to the banquet are most widely 
heard. Hitzig singularly translates " on the 
bare elevations of the city," because D'iJJ in 
Exod. xxi. 3, 4, and according to the Arabic, 
means naked, unclothed (?). — Furthermore the 
maidens sent forth, the servants of Wisdom, cor- 
respond to the servants by whom the Lord in the 
Gospel (Luke xiv. IG sq. ; Matth. xxii. 1 sq.) has 
the guests invited to his banquet. 

2. Vers. 4-12. "Whosoever is simple let 
him come hither!" etc. On account of the si- 
milarity of this verse to ver. 16, which contains 
the words of Folly's invitation, and on account 
of the summons to eat bread (ver. 5) which does 
not agree with the mention of the slain beasts in 
ver. 2, Hitzig pronounces vers. 4 and 5 spuri- 
ous. But it is very significant and pertinent 
that Wisdom's invitation appears clothed in the 
same words as that of Folly (comp. the analogous 
verbal repetitions in Christ's paraVjles and di- 
dactic narratives, e. g., Matth. xxv. 20, 22; Luke 
V. 6, 9; xvi. 6, 7, etc.); and to "eat bread" 
stands here as in iv. 7, and indeed frequently 
(e g.. Gen. iii. 19; Lev. xxvi. 5; Deut. xxix. 6; 
Judges xix. 5; 1 Satn. ii. 36, etc.), by synec- 
doche for "the partaking of food, the taking a 
meal " in general. [The allegorical view of this 
passage as held, e. g., by Wordsw., and in his 
Commentary supported by ample use of the 
Church Fathers, may be illustrated by the sup- 
posed reference of ver. 5 to " the Body of Christ, 
the Living Bread, and the mystery of His blood, 
by which we are refreshed at His Holy Table." 
A.]. — The destitute of understanding, to 

him she saith. Before the ^VlDH there is 
to be supplied from the 1st member the pro- 
noun 'O, —literally, therefore " who is destitute 
of understanding, to him she saith." The dis- 
course accoi-dingly here (and in the 2d member 
of ver. 15) falls back from the stj'le of recital to 
that of description. 

Ver. 6. Forsake the simple. It will be 
easiest to take this phrase in its literal sense. 

For the verses following give this very counsel, 
not to keep company longer with the simple, 
with fools and scorners, because these are 
still incorrigible. The old versions and most 
modern commentators [as e. g., St., N., M.] re- 
gard the noun as abstract (equivalent to the sing. 
^r\2 in i. 22, or the abstract derivative TWTMi 
in ver. 13), and therefore translate "Forsake 
simplicity, let your simplicity go." [As Trapp, 
in his pithy way expresses it: "No coming to 
this feast in the tattered rags of the old Adam; 
you must relinquish your former evil courses and 
companies"]. But such a signification of this plu- 
ral is attested by no example whatsoever. Just 
as unadvisable is it to construe the verb abso- 
lutely, by which Hitzig reaches the translation, 
"Cease, ye simple," etc.; for in Jer. xviii. 14, 
the verb is construed not absolutely, but rather 
with jp ; and the connection with wjiat follows 
at least decidedly favors our explanation, which 
is supported by Ujibkeit also among others of 
the later expositors. 

Ver. 7. He who correcteth the scorner 
draweth upon himself insult. Usually the 
connection with ver. 4-6 is so conceived as il 
Wisdom were here (in ver. 7-10) explaining her 
conduct in inviting especially the simple; she is 
supposed to turn to these alone, for the reason, 
that if she wished to invite the scornful and 
wicked also she would only expose herself to in- 
dignities, and yet would efi"ect nothing. But 
against this view of the course of thought may 
be urged decidedly, the warning and admonitory 
tone of vers. 8, 9, and the didactic nature of ver. 
10, which make it easy to find expressed in ver. 
7 also the spirit of dissuasion, and so to regard 
vers. 7-10 as an argument in support of the de- 
mand embodied in the 1st clause of ver. 6, to 
avoid further intercourse with the simple, scorn- 
ers, villains, etc. A comparison with i. 22 shows 
that under the " simple " may be included very 
readily mockers, the violent, etc., as belonging 
to the same category; so does also the name "sim- 
plicity " (^^"'iliJJ which is below, in ver. 13, 
directly given to the personification of Folly. 
"Abandon intercourse with such persons" is 
therefore Wisdom's admonition, "for you gain 
from it nothing but insult, hate and contempt; 
forsake the camp of the simple (D-^niJ) and 
come over into that of the wise (D'ODFI), whose 
watchword is the fear of God and knowledge of 
the Holy ; so will you find abundance of happi- 
ness and blessing." — Hitzig, whose conception 
of the 1st clause of ver. 6 makes the recognition 
of this as the true connection of thought, from 
the first impossible, summarily rejects ver. 7-10 
as a later interpolation. But if in fact the "if 
thou scornest " in the 2d clause of ver. 12 sug- 
gested this interpolation, the verses introduced 
would both in form and substance have been es- 
sentially different. And in the form in which 
the passage has come down in the manuscripts 
Hitzig's hypothesis of an interpolation here 
again finds no kind of support. — -And he v/ho 
rebuketh a V7icked man to him it is a 
shame. The word lO-IO (his fault or shame) 

cannot be dependent on the verb (Hp 7) of the 
first clause which is associated with 17 [he 



taketh to Limself his shame], but must be re- 
garded as a predicate: "this is to him shame, 
such action is his disgrace." Comp. Eccl. v. 16 ; 
Ps. cxv. 7. 

Ver. 9. Give to the wise and he be- 

cometh wiser. Comp. chap. i. 5, wliicli pas- 
sage all hough expressing an idea lilie tliat before 

lis, must nut for that reason be regarded as de- 
rived from tills (in opposition to Ilrrzic;). [Lord 

BvcON (Adv. of Jjcarning, Book IL) says, " Hero 

is distinguished the wisdom brouglit into habit, 

and that which is but verbal and swimming only 

in conceit ; for the one upon the occasion pre- 
sented is quickened and redoubled, the other is 

amazed and confused "]. With ver. 10 comp. i. 7; 

ii. 5. Corresponding with the "Knowledge 

of God " in the latter passage we have here 

"knowledge of the holy," i. e. not "knowledge 

of the holy" [in plural] (LXX, Vulgate, and 

most Catholic expositors), but "of the Holy" [in 

singular, '■• des IIeiliyc:ii"'\, i.e. of God. Comp. 

further for this plur. majest. chap. xxx. 3 and 

Hos. xii. 1. [See still further examples of the 

use of participial plurals in the same way in Isa. 

liv. 5; Ps. cxxi. 5; Eccl. xii. 1, etc., Ewald, 

Leh-b., § 178, b, Bott., | 701, Green, | 202.— 

With regard to the interpretation compare Dr. 

J. Pye Smith [Script. Test, to the Messiah, L, 

811): " According to the usual construction of 

Hebrew poetry, the plural epithet "the Holy" 

must be understood in apposition with Jehovah 

in the former half of the distich." So H., St. 

M., and N.— A.] 

Vers. 11,12 are not to be regarded as taking 
up the discourse after the alleged digression in 
vers. 7-10, and attaching themselves to the words 

of invitation in vers. 4-G to justify them (Ber- 
THEAU, Hrrzio), but give the reason for the gene- 
ral affirmation in vor. 10, which had been added 
as a peculiarly strong motive to the acceptance 
of Wisdom's invitation. The address in the sin- 
gular has therefore nothing remarkable in it; it 
simply follows vers. 8, 9. — By me vvill thy 
days become many, etc. Comp. similar pro- 
mises of long life, chap. iii. 2; iv. 10. [For the 
use of this 3d pers. plural •lii'DV see the gram- 
mars generally, e. ff. Ges., § 134, 8; Green, § 
243, 2, b, but more fully Bott., ^ fl3.j, GJ.—Art 
thou wise, thou art wise to thyself. The 
same thought is found somewhat more fully de- 
veloped in Job xxii. 2, 3; xxxv. 0-9 ; comp. also 
Rom. xi. 35; Rev. xxii. 11, 12. — If thou scorn- 
est thou alone shalt bear it. Comp. Numb, 
ix. 13; Jer. vii. 19; .Job xxxiv. 31, and also the 
Latin dictum, of Petronuts, ''Sibi qnisque peccat." 
The LXX offer in ver. 12, 1st clause, the fuller 
reading " thou shalt be wise for thyself and for thy 
neighbor" [kuI nj -/j/aiov) which is surely the re- 
sult of interpolation, like the addition which they 
append to ver. 10 (ru yap yvumi voiinv (hamiac 
earlv aya't^f/c). The longer additions also of three 
verses eacii, which they with the Syriac and 
Arabic translators exhibit after ver. 12 and ver. 

18, hardly rest upon a genuine original text that been assailed and ensnared by Folly's allure- 
was before them, although they may readily be 1 ments (Elster) : for the suggestion of the at- 
rendered back into Il<-i)rew (see Ilnzia's at- | traction and charm of forbidden pleasures ap- 
tenipts at this, pp. 8(5 and 88), and therefore very pears most appropriately in the mouth of the 
probably date from pre-Alexanih-i;in times. j beguiler. Comp. UMiuiEiT on this passage. 

Vers. 13-18. A simple woman, clamo- \ Instead of wine (ver. 5) water is here mentioned 

rous, [violently excited] is Folly. The ab- 
sti-act j">-Vj}£), simplicity, foolishness (see above 
remarks on ver. 7) is here plainly the subject, 
and designates the personitied Folly, the e.xact 
opposite of Wisdom in ver. 1 With this suliject 
is associated and prefixed as the main predicate, 
the appellation " woman of folly," i. e., sim- 
ple woman; the n'.Oin "clamorous, boister- 
ous" is in turn an attribute of this predicate, 
and describes the passionately excited, wanton 
desire of the foolish woman represented as an 
adulteress, just as in vii. 11, with which deli- 
neation that before us has a general and doubt- 
less intentional correspondence. — And know- 
eth nothing w^hatever. In this way in ac- 
cordance with Job xiii. 13, this phrase of the 

Masoretic text (nr3"n>n"'-S3!|) must unques- 
tionably be interpreted. Liter ignorance (comp. 
John xi. 49, "ye know nothing at all ") would 
accordingly be what is here asserted of Folly. 
But perhaps Hitzig is right, according to the 
LXX {ij ovK. kTiicrarai alax'i't'jjv, "whoknowetb 

not shame") in reading 713/3 instead of 
no (the disappearance of the two consonants 
might easily have been occasioned by the false 
reading no~'72)), and therefore in translating 
" and knoweth no shame," which agrees admi- 
rably with the "boisterous" of the 1st clause. 

Ver. 14. She sitteth at the door of her 
house, like harlots who watch for passers by; 
comp. Jer. iii. 2 ; Gen. xxxviii. 14, and the con- 
duct of the adulteress described in chap. vii. 10 
sq. — Seated in the high places of the city. 
The place thus described is not the same as that 
in the 1st clause, but some other, farther re- 
moved from the door of the house. The harlot 
is therefore quite like the one in chap. vii. 10 sq., 
represented as running irregularly this way 
and that and often clianging her place. In this, 
however, the representation accords with that in 
ver. 3; as Wisdom so also Folly sends forth her 
call of invitation from elevated places of the 
city (comp. also chap. viii. 2). A real throne as 
her seat, which she has erected under the open 
air, and which, in contrast to the "bald, un- 
covered heights" (?) mentioned in ver. 3, is sup- 
posed to be covered with tapestry (Hitzig), is 
certainly not intended; but the "throne" is 
here metaphorical; a "lofty throne of the city" 
(Umbreit) is a figurative and probably an ironi- 
cal representation of a specially high place on 
which the wanton harlot has stationed herself, 
and therefore is as it were enthroned. 

Ver. 15. Who go straight on their w^ays, 
and therefore quiet, unwary travellers wlio lake 
no thought of circuits or by-paths. The expres- 
sion is doubtless to be taken literally, and yet 
not without a secondary moral significance. 

Ver. 17. Stolen w^aters are sweet, etc. 
Plainly words of Folly, and not of tiie author 
(Ewalu, Bertheau), or even of one who has 

CHAP. IX. 1-18. 


as tlie ingredient, of the feast, probably with 
reference to the waters mentioned in chap. v. 15. 
— Bread of secrecy, i. e. not simply bread 
secretly enjoyed, but also unjustly gained; an 
image of the forbidden enjoyment on which the 
adulterer seizes (coiiip. chap. xxx. 20). 

Ver. 18. And he knoweth not, i. e. the 
fd'olish victim who heeds h^v call and enters her 
hiiuse (comp. viii. 22). — That the dead (shades) 
are there, L e. children of death, who are 
surely moving on toward the horrors of the 
lower world, and therefore even now, while the 
body still lives, are tenants of the lower world 
(D'XD"1, comp. ii. 18), or "dead" (thus quite 
correctly according to the sense, Luther [the 
English version, «/c.] : comp. Matt. viii. 22; 
Eph. ii. 1, etc.). — In the depths of hell her 
guests; literally, "in the depths (not as Um- 
BREiT and Ew.\LD would reail 'in the valleys') 
of Sheol her invited ones." Therefore although 
in the house of Folly and to be found at her ban- 
quet those ensnared by her are in truth already 
in hell. For that house as a throat of hell 
reaches down to it (comp. ii. 18; vii. 27), is as it 
were only a station on the way of these sinners, 
which leads surely and irresistibly down to bell. 
Thus, and doubtless correctly, Hitzig, in opposi- 
tion to others who make this language only anti- 
cipative. As to the three verses which the LXX 
supply after ver. 18 see above on ver. 12. ' 


The prototypical relation of the contents of 
this chapter to our Lord's parables founded on 
banquets (JNIt. xxii. 1-14; Lu. xiv. 16-2-t) is evi- 
dent, and therefore its special importance to the 
doctrine of the call to salvation. What peculiarly 
characterizes the representation before us is, how- 
ever, the twofold banquet to which invitation is 
given, and the correspondent resemblances and 
ditferences in the two feasts with their accompa- 
niments. In both instances, at Wisdom's feast as 
well as that of Folly, it is the " simple," i. e. the 
great mass of the unrenewed, the children of 
this world, those indeed needing but not yet par- 
taking the divine salvation, to whom the call 
goes forth. It also goes in both cases (Ver. 4 
and 16) with the same words of invitation, and 
under quite similar conditions, — that is, in such 
a way that those to be invited are laid hold upon 
in the street, and at once taken into the house 
(comp. Matt. xxii. 9; Luke xiv. 21). With these 
analogies which are found mainly at the begin- 
ning of the acts compared, how great are the 
ditferences, how fearful the contrasts ! In the 
former case it is a splendid palace with its col- 
umns, a holy temple of God, in which the feast 
occurs; in the latter a common house, a harlot's 
abode, built over an entrance to the abyss of 
hell! In the first the entertainer, represented 
as the princely occupant of a palace, remains 
quietly at home, while her servants take charge 
of the invitations ; in the last the common woman 
goes out herself on the streets and high places 
of the city, that sitting in the attire of a harlot 
(comp. vii. 10), with the open heavens as a 
canopy above her, she may craftily and shame- 
lessly attract as many as may be affected and 

ensnared by the contagion of her wanton lust ! 
In the former instance it is simple words of God 
that make up the inviting testimony, words that 
in part with a literal exactness agree with the 
gracious calls of mercy and love with which the 
Son of Man once called sinners to repentance 
(comp., for example, ver. 5 with John vi. 35, 
vers. 7, 8 with Matt. vii. 6; ver. 9 with Matt, 
xiii. 12; vers. 6, 11, 12 with Matt. xi. 28-30); 
in the latter it is a Satanic voice of temptation 
that is heard, setting forth with the boldest ef- 
frontery as a commendable principle to which 
we should conform our lives, the well-knowa 
" we ever strive for the forbidden, and desire 
the denied " [nitimur in velitum semper cupimusque 
negata) ! comp. ver. 17 with Matt. iv. 3, 9; Rom. 
i. 32, etc. 

In the homiletic treatment of the passage as a 
whole it will be appropriate to set in the clearest 
light this parallelism of the banquets that are 
compared, with their special resemblances and 
contrasts; in some such way as this then: The 
friends of the kingdom of heaven and the friends 
of this world; or, The call of Christ to His 
Church, and the enticement of Satan to the ser- 
vice of sin; or. The feast of death, etc. Comp. 
Stocker : Christ's wisdom and humanity [(puav- 
OpuTTia); Antichrist's folly and dcstructiveness. — 
Starke : — A lesson on the founding of the church 
of the Messiah, and the collection of its mem- 
bers: 1) The founding of the Church by the 
work of redemption (vers. 1, 2). 2) The invita- 
tion to the enjoyment of the blessings of Christ's 
salvation in the Church; and in particular: 
a) How Christ invites to the enjoyment of these 
blessings of His salvation (vers. 3-6) ; b) How 
this invitation is foolishly despised by many 
men, and the allurements of sin preferred to it. 
— WoHLFAKTH : — The cross-roads ; while wisdom 
calls us to the way of virtue and offers herself 
as our guide on it, at the same time the pleasure 
of this world calls and offers everything imagina- 
ble to draw to itself earth's pilgrims of all races^ 
ages and conditions. 

Single jyassages. On vers. 1-6. Stocker : — 
(Sermon on Christmas eve) ; Christ's friendliness 
and condescension, as it appears 1) from the 
founding of His Church and its maintenance by 
"seven pillars," i. e. by the apostles endowed 
with the manifold gifts of the Holy Ghost (ver. 1); 
2) from Ilis costly work of redemption in His 
own sacrificial death (ver. 2) ; by the institutioa 
of the means of grace in His Word and Sacra- 
ment (vers. 2-3) ; 4) from the gracious invitation 
to partake of all this (vers. 4 sq.). 

On vers. 7,8. Cramer: — In the office of the 
Christian ministry the function of discipline 
must also be especially maintained. It does not, 
however, produce uniform fruits; some reform, 
some are and continue scorners. — [Ver. 7. Fla- 
VEL: — What we fear might turn to our bene- 
fit. The reproof given is duty discharged ; and 
the retort in return is a fresh call to repent- 
ance for sin past, and a caution against sin to 
come. — Vers. 7-9. Arnot : — Reproof — how to 
give it and how to take it. There should be 
jealousy for the Lord's honor, and compassion for 
men's souls like a well-spring ever in the heart; 
and then the outgoing effort should be with all 
the wisdom of the serpent and the harmlessnesa 



of the dove. For rightly receiving reproof the 
rule is, be more concerned to get the Vjenefit of 
the reproof than to wreak vengeance on the re- 

On ver. 7-12. Calwer Handbuch ; Reflections 
on the reception which Wisdom's invitation finds 
among men ; mockers answer it with derision ; 
■wise, i. e. God-fearing men, and such as continue 
in sanctificalion grow not only in wisdom, but also 
in outward prosperity: the gain is in every case 
ours, as the loss is the scorner's. — On vers. 11, 12. 
Hasius : — Wisdom and virtue lose nothing by 
being reviled and defamed; he, however, inevi- 
tably loses who makes sport of them. — [T. Adams : 
■ — Wisdom is the mother of abstinence, and absti- 
nence the nurse of health ; whereas voluptuous- 
ness and intemperance (as the French proverb 
hath it) dig their own grave with their teeth.] 

On vers. 13-18. Starke: — If the temptation 
of Satan and liis agents is so strong so much the 
more needful is it to try the spirits whether they 

be of God, and to beseech God that He will 
guide us in the right way. Alas ! to many men 
in consequence of their corrupted taste in spiri- 
tual things there is more relish in the bread of 
vice and in draughts from the impure sloughs of 
the world, than in what is oifered to them on the 
table of Jesus' grace. — Berleburg Bible: — The 
more faithfully one serves the world, the more 
he allows himself to be led by corrupt reason 
and gives ear to the fascinating voice of tempta- 
tion, the more enamored he is of the deceitful 
harlot, so much the deeper will he sink into 
the lowest depths of hell .... Who would pre- 
fer hell to heaven ! who would go after death 
that may attain life ! — [Ver. 17. Trapp: — Many 
eat that on earth that they digest in hell. — Arnot: 
— When you have tasted and seen that the Lord is 
gracious, the foolish woman beckons you toward 
her stolen waters, and praises their sweets in 
vain: the new appetite drives out the old]. 


Ethical maxims, precepts and admonitions -with respect to the most diverse relations 

of human life. 

(Proverbs mainly in the form of antithetic distichs.) 

Chap. X. 1— XXII. 16. 

3. Exhibition of the difference between the pious and the ungodly, and their respective lots in life. 

Chap. X-XV. 

a) Comparison between the pious and the ungodly with respect to their life and conduct in gene- 
ral. Chap. X. 

1 Proverbs of Solomon. 

A wise son maketh glad his father, 

but a foolish son is the grief of his mother. 

2 Treasures of wickedness do not profit, 
but righteousness delivereth from death. 

3 Jehovah will not suffer the righteous to famish [E. V.: the soul of the righteous], 
but the craving of the wicked He disappointeth. 

4 He becometh poor that worketh with an idle hand, 
but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. 

5 He that gathereth in summer is a wise son, 
but he that sleepeth in harvest is a bad son. 

6 Blessings are upon the head oi' the just, 

but the mouth of the wicked hideth violence. 

7 The memory of the just is blessed, 
but the name of the wicked shall rot. 

8 Whoso is wise iu heart will receive precepts, 
but he who is of foolish lips shall fall. 

9 He that walketh uprightly walketh securely, 

but he that perverteth his way shall be made known. 

CHAP. X. 1-32. Ill 

10 He that winketh with the eye causeth trouble, 
and he that is of foolish lips is overthrown. 

11 A fountain of life is the mouth of the righteous, 
but the mouth of the wicked hideth violence. 

12 Hate stirreth up strife, 

but love covereth all transgressions. 

13 On the lips of the man of understanding wisdom is found, 
but a rod (is) for the back of the fool. 

14 Wise men store up knowledge, 

but the mouth of the fool is a near (speedy) destruction. 

15 The rich man's wealth is his strong city, 
the destruction of the poor is their poverty. 

16 The labour of the righteous (tendeth) to life, 
the gain of the wicked to sin. 

17 A way to life is he who heedeth correction, 
he who resisteth reproof leadeth astray. 

18 He that hideth hatred (hath) lying lips, 
and he who spreadeth slander is a fool. 

19 In much talking transgression is not wanting, 
but he that governeth his lips doeth wisely. 

20 Choice silver is the tongue of the righteous, 
the heart of the wicked is of little worth. 

21 The lips of the righteous feed many, 
but fools die for want of knowledge. 

22 Jehovah's blessing, — it maketh rich, 
and labour addeth nothing thereto. 

23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief, 
but to the man of understanding wisdom. 

24 What the wicked feareth cometh upon him, 
but the desire of the righteous is granted them. 

25 When a storm sweepeth by the wicked is no more, 
but the righteous is an everlasting foundation. 

26 As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, 
so is the sluggard to them that send him. 

27 The fear of Jehovah multiplieth days, 
but the years of the wicked are shortened. 

28 The expectation of the righteous is gladness, 
but the hope of the wicked shall perish. 

29 Jehovah's way is a bulwark to the righteous, 
but destruction to evil doers. 

30 The righteous shall never be moved, 

but the wicked shall not abide in the land. 

31 The mouth of the righteous bringeth forth wisdom, 
but the perverse tongue shall be rooted out. 

32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, 
but the mouth of the wicked perverseness. 


Ver. 1.— [nSKf^ ; cited by Bott (g§ 943, c, e ; 950 e) as an illustration of the employment of the Imperf. to express What 
must be from the very nature of the case, — Fiens delitum, — " must gladden." — A.] 

Ver 2. — ['W'^V : as above, with the meaning " cannot profit;" §950, c, |3. — A.] 

Ver. 3. — [3''_y'T' ; an example of the Fiens solitum, what is %iiont to be; g 950, 6.] — The LXX, arbitrarily assimilating 
the language of the iirst and second clauses, read in the second D'J^K'T H^n, for they translate " the life of the un- 
godly," ^u)))i' SJ ao-e/3a)i' ai-aTpei/zfi. [T\>T\ has been quite variously rendered. The E. V. translates "substance," the ob- 

T ~ 

ject of the desire of the wicked. Luther, fnllowinjr the inndias of the Vulff., renders by "Schinderei^exactions or oppres- 
sion. IIoLOEN translates "iniquity." N., St., and M. agree with our author in retaining the simple meaning "craving, or 
greedy desire." So Gesen., Fuerst, etc. — A.] 

Ver. 5.— [U?O0 is taken by Gesen., Fuerst, Stuart as intransitive, in the sense of "acting basely." N., M., H. agree 



■n-ith the E. V in (ierivin;,' it fioiii a rlifferint radical idea in the verl', and niiikitig it a causative Hiphil. Tbe difference in 
the final imjiort is nut vt-ry great, yet tlie lormer ci^nception of the word appears to have the best warrant. — A.] 
Ver. 8.— [np'i Fie7is Uciliun, '-is dispused to receive," etc. BoiT, ^I'iO, c. — A.J 

Ver. 21.— ion is liere stat. canstr. not of tlie adj. IDH, as e. g. above in ver. 13, but of the noun "1Dn> as tlie old trans- 
lators correctly judged. BcRTHEAU 13 therefore wrong in rendering " through one void of understanding." Fuerst takes 
our author's view; so Bott. (JTy-i), who would interpret ver. lU in the same way, "the back of folly." — A.] 


1. General preliminary remark. Tbe main di- 
vision of the collection of proverbs that begins 
with chap, x., by the scattered isolation and the 
mosaic-like grouping of its individual elements 
contrasts quite strongly with the longer and well 
compacted proverbial discourses of the first nine 
chapters. And yet one would go too far in as- 
suming an entirely planless and unregulated ac- 
cumulation of the proverbs contained in chaps, 
x.-xxii., and failing to recognize at least an at- 
tempt of the collector to secure a methodical 
grouping of the rich store of maxims that he has 
to communicate. Hitzig's assumption, it is true, 
seems altogether artificial, and tenable only as 
the result of violent critical dealing, — viz., that 
chaps, x.-xxi. may be resolveil into four sections 
of equal length, of about 90 verses each ; 1 ) 
chaps, x.-xii. (xiii. 1 making a commencement 
parallel to x. 1); chap, xiii.-xv. 32 (in whicii 
division xiii. 23 is to be stricken out to make 91 
verses, as in the preceding section) ; chap. xv. 
33-xix. 3 (where by omitting xvi. 25 and insert- 
ing two verses from the LXX after xvi. 17 the 
number of 89 verses must be reached that shall 
correspond with the section following) ; and 
chap. xix. 4-xsi. 31. Ho also assumes that within 
these four principal subdivisions groups of verses 
symmetrically constructed of six, seven and 
eight verses respectively, succeed one another. 
But although such a construction according to 
definite relations of numbers is not demonstrable, 
or at least is demonstrable only in single in- 
stances [e. g., chap. xv. 33 — xvi. 15; see remarks 
on tills passage), still the existence of larger or 
smaller groups of proverbs of similar import 
cannot be denied; and many of these groups 
relating to one and the same subject are very 
probably attached one to another according to a 
definite plan or construction of ideas. And yet 
these in most cases stand in a loose co-ordina- 
tion, and withal quite frequently appear accom- 
panied or interspersed by single verses that are 
altogether isolated. In the chapter before us 
groups of this sort, governed by a certain- unity 
of idea, may be found in vers. 2-7, 8-10, 11-14, 
15-21, 22-25, 27-30. Vers. 1, 26, 31, 82 stand 
isolated. Hitzig's attempt to construct from x. 
1 — xi. 3 exactly five groups of seven proverbs 
each appears untenable after an unprejudiced 
examination of the real relations of the matter. — 
AVith reference to the contents of the six groups 
of verses, together with the individual verses 
accompanying them, and also with respect to 
central thoughts that may possibly be drawn 
from these elements, see the "Doctrinal and 
Ethical" notes. 

2. Vers. 1. A wise son maketh glad his 
father, etc. — This thought, wliich is quite gene- 
ral, is plainly designed to serve as an introduc- 
tion to the entire collection of proverbs that suc- 

ceeds ; comp. i. 8. As in that instance, and as 
in XV. 20; xvii. 25; xxiii. 24 there is found here 
an attempt, by means of an antithetic parallelism, 
at Metalepsis or the distribution of tlie proposi- 
tions between father and mother in detail. [In- 
genious expositions of the diverse eflf'ects of dif- 
ferent kinds of conduct upon the father and the 
mother, like that of Lord Bacon in the "Adiumce- 
ment of Learning," and more elaborately in the 
"Z'e Augmentia Scientiariim," overlook the nature 
of the Hebrew parallelism — A.] "Grief, anx- 
iety," derived from TIT [moestus esse, dolere), 
LXX : ?.v7T?f ; comp. liv. 13; xvii. 21 ; Ps. cxix. 

3. Vers. 2-7. Six verses or three pairs of verses 
relating to the earthly lot of the just and the un- 
just, the diligent and the sluggish. — Treasures 
of -wickedness profit not. — Because they 
cannot avert the sudden and unhappy death that 
awaits the wicked ; comp. vers. 25-27. With the 
second clause compare chap. xi. 4-19. 

Ver. 3. Jehovah will not suffer the 
righteous to famish. — Literally, " the spirit of 
the righteous;" for this is the sense which in 
agreement with most interpreters we must find 
here, and not " the desire, the craving of the 
righteous," as Elster thinks, appealing for con- 
firmation to vi. 30; xxiii. 2. For this strong 
expression is inappropriate before we come to 
the antithesis in the second member, and here 
the idea is plainly enough expressed by the word 
ri'n, "longing" (comp. n^lN, Deut. xii. 15; 1 

Sam. xxiii. 30). Compare xi. 6. 

Ver. 4. He becometh poor thatworketh 
with an idle hand. — n''p"1-'^3, not a "deceit- 
ful, crafty hand," but an "idle, sluggish hand," 
manus remissa (Vulg.); comp. xii. 24, 27; xix. 
15 ; Jer. xlviii. 10.— t:'N"l, for which the LXX 
and Vulg. must have read t-^X"! the substantive 
(TTEvia, egestas), is the third Sing. Perf. Kal [or 
the participle] with the scriptio plena (like DNp 
in Hos. X. 14), and with the signification "he is 
impoverished," inopsfit; comp. Ps. xxxiv. 10. With 
the phrase T Hb';', to stir the hand, to work 
with the hand, comp. Jer. xlviii. 10. — But the 
hand of the diligent — literally, " of the 
sharpened," comp. xii. 24. 

Ver. 5. He that gathereth in summer is 
a wise man — lit., "is a son thatdoeth wisely," 
and so in the second member, "a son that doeth 
badly." Tiiesc same predicates stand contrasted 
also in chap. xiv. 35, in that case to define more 
closely the term " servant," but here as attributes 
of the "son," which designation is chosen in this 
instance rather than "man," probably because 
"the heavy labors of the field which are here 
spoken of devolve especially upon the younger 
men, and also because idleness is particularly 
ruinous to youth" (Ei.stf.u). — For the general 
sentiment comp. also chap. vi. 8, 9. 

Ver. 6. Benedictions (come) upon the head 

CHAP. X. 1-32. 


of the just, but the mouth of the wicked 
hideth violence. — In this strictly literal ren- 
dering of tile verse there is no sharp antithesis be- 
tween the first and second clauses, for which reason 
many, following the LXX and Vulg., reverse the 
relation of subject and object in the second clause, 
and fit her translate with Doderlein, Dathe, etc., 
♦' wickedness closeth the mouth of the vicious," 
or, inasmuch as the noun DOn cannot possibly 
be used in this setnse of " wickedness, evil dispo- 
sition," explain with Umbreit among others, 
"the mouth of the profligate crime covereth." 
[E. v.: "violence covereth tha mouth of the 
wicked."] (This is substantially the explanation 
of HiTZiG also, except that he points Hoi)' instead 

of HDD', and takes the noun DOFI contrary to 
■.•-:' TT •' 

usage in the sense of " pain, ruin ;'' " the mouth 
of the wicked is covered with sorrow.") [Words. 
gives a doubtful support to this view.] liut why 
in just this passage and the second hemistich of 
ver. 11 which corresponds literally with it, it 
should be particularly the mouth and not the/ace 
of the wicked that is named as the object to be 
covered with crime, is not readily seen; and to 
read " " ("P.?) instead of "mouth" ('3) in 
accordance with Ps. xliv. 16; Jer. li. 51, would 
evidently not answer on account of the double 
occurrence of the expression. Therefore, with, Elster, etc. [N., St., and M. in a 
qualified way], we should hold fast the above 
explanation as the simplest and most obvious, 
and accordingly reckon our verse among the ex- 
ceptions, which, moreover, are not very rare, to 
that antithetic mode of constructing propositions 
which altogether predominates in the division of 
the book now before us. [Rueetschi, in the 
Stud, und Krit., 1868, I., 135, not only agrees 
with our author in his construction of the verse, 
but endeavors more fully to justify the parallelism 
by the following explanation. " While the 
righteous, who is himself for others a fountain of 
life and blessing (ver. 11), nothing but love and 
fidelity, is himself also to expect blessing (ver. 7), 
the wicked has in himself only destruction; he 
hides it, covers it, it is true (corap. DD^), ver. 18), 
with his mouth, yet has it in him (Ps. v. 9) ; and 
this very fact, that he covers in himself •ruin for 
others, turns the blessing away from him."] 

Yer. 7. The name of the "wicked rotteth, 
strictly "will rot or moulder," i. e., the memory 
of the wicked not only disappears quickly and 
surely, but also so as to excite sensations of ab- 
horrence and disgust in other men (like ill 
smelling mould). 

4. Vers. 8-10. Three proverbs bearing upon the 
contrast between wise men and fools. — He who 
is of foolish lips is overthrown. — With the 
wisely dispn.^ed (in the first clause) there is sig- 
nificantly contrasted the foolish speaker, the fro- 
ward talker, and that, too, with the designation 
suggested by the organ of his foolish discourse, 
"the fool in lips." The verb {02^\), for the 
most part misunderstood by the older translators, 
can express only the meaning of being brought 
to a downfall, being overthrown, prsecipitari, and 
accordingly sets forth the consequence of that 
refusal to receive commandments which charac- 
terizes the fool in contrast with the wise man. 

To secure a stronger antithesis to the verb of the 
first clause Hitzig reads iObV or OSV, "casta 
them away," i. e. the commandments. But it ia 
precisely the correspondence with the 2d clause 
of ver. 10, where Hitzig must admit the passive 
meaning of the verb, that makes it certain that 
this is here also the intended meaning ; far such 
verbal repetitions of whole or of half verses are 
among the fancies of the author of this division 
of our book ; see above, remarks on ver. 6. 
[The wise "speaks little, but hears much: re- 
ceives commands; therefore it goes well with 
him" (ver. 9, 1st clause; chap. iii. 1 sq.) ; but he 
" who is of foolish lips," who by his words shows 
himself a fool, is ever talking and not receiving 
instruction, is ruined; literally, is overthrown. 
It is in general a peculiar charm of many pro- 
verbs that the parallelism is not perfectly close, 
but it remains the function of the reader to seek 
out the intermediate thoughts, and to make the 
deductions." Rueetschi, as cited above]. 

Ver. 9. Is made manifest, lit., "is made 
known," i.e. as a sinner deserving punishment; 
an allusion to the judicial strictness of God, the 
All-seeing, [so Wordsw.], (the verb, therefore, 
not used as in chap. xii. 16). Hitzig strangely 
renders "made wiser," as though the Niphal were 
here passive of the Hiphil. [Rueetschi again 
(as cited above, p. 136) agrees with Zockler, and 
thus develops the antithesis : " he adopts crooked 
ways in order, as he thinks, to be able to practice 
iniquity more secure and unobserved; but he is 
ever known and exposed, he must himself always 
fear recognition, and this gives to his walk 'in- 
security' "]. 

Vt.r. 10. He that w^inketh with the eye. 
Comp. vi. 13, where as here the "winking with 
the eye" immediately follows the mention of 
crooked and perverse action. Instead of the 2d 
clause, which is identical with the 2d clause of 
ver. 8, and which here yields no autithetic'paral- 
lelism to the 1st clause, Kennicott, D.\tue, Ber- 
THEAU, Elster prefer the very different reading 
of the LXX: 6 de £A£}';^;wv [it-a Trappr/aiag slpz/vo- 
TToul (but he that rebuketh boldly maketh peace). 
This however appears rather to be an attempted 
emendation, the result of well-meaning reflection 
than the restoration of an original Hebrew text. 
We'must here again assume a momentary depar- 
ture of the poet from his ordinary strictly anti- 
thetical construction of his sentences. In con- 
nection with this, however, we are not to give to 

the Terb £337^ conjecturally the meaning of 

"stumbling" or of " groping blindly" (Hitzig), 
but that which is found also in ver. 8, " having 
a fall," "self-destruction" (Umbreit). [Here 
again Rueetschi comes to the defence of 
the poet's antithesis, with the explanation 
"he that winketh, the false, causes sorrow, 
produces vexation to himself, and he who in his 
folly openly utters evil falls." The results difi'er 
according to the nature of his wickedness; 
"vexation when he has done wrong secretly,, 
overthrow, destruction, when he has done it 
openly " (as above cited, p. 136)]. 

6. Vers. 11-14. Two pairs of sentences con- 
cerning the contrast between good and evil, wis- 
dom and folly, associated by the mention which 



is common to the iii-st and last proverb, of the 
mouth of those in whom the contrast appears (as 
the preceding group was characterized by tlie men- 
tion of the lipn in vers. 8 and 10). — A fountain 
of life is the mouth of the righteous, on 
account of the hearty, edifying, loving character 
of its utterances. For this figure compare xiii. 
14; xviii. 4. For the 2d clause see remarks 
above on ver. 6. 

Ver. 12. Hate stirreth up strife, lit., ''dis- 
putes," "litigations;" conip. vi. 14. — All trans- 
gressions love covereth over, by ignoring 
them, by palliating words, by considerate and 
conciliatory demeanor; comp. xvii. 'J; James v. 
20; 1 Pet. iv. 8; 1 Cor. xiii. 4.— [Tr.\pp : Love 
hath a large mantle]. 

Ver. 13. A rod for the fool's back, i. e. 
merited punishment overtakes him, the man void 
of understanding whose lips lack wisdom (comp. 
xxvi. 3; xix. 29). The imperfect and suggestive 
form of the antithesis is like that in vers. (J and 8. 

Ver. 14. Wise men reserve knowledge, 
lit., "conceal knowledge," i. e. husband the know- 
ledge and understanding which they possess for 
the right time and place, do not squander it in un- 
seasonable talk and babbling (comp. ver. 8). [So 
W., N., St., and M.]. In the pai-allel passage 
xiii. 23 the synonymous verb to "cover" (JIDB) 
corresponds with the one here used. Comp. also 
Mai. ii. 7. — Is a near destruction, i. e. is ever 
inclined to break forth with its foolish sugges- 
tions, and thereby to bring upon itself and upon 
others alarm and even destruction. Comp. the 
sentiment of chap. xiii. 8, which although indeed 
somewhat differently constructed is still in gene- 
ral similar. ["Near" is an adjective, and the 
rendering should be more distinct than the am- 
higuous and misleading translation of the E. V. 
The mouth of the wicked is not simply passively 
near to being destroyed; it is a quickly destroy- 
ing agency. — A.] 

6. Vei's. 15-21. Seven proverbs mostly relating 
to earthly good, its worth, and the means of its 
attainment, — connected with the two preceding 
groups (although only loosely and externally) by 
the "destruction" of ver. 15, and the allusion to 
the lips in vers. 18 and 19. With the 1st clause 
of ver. 15 comp. xviii. 11 ; Ecclesiast. xl. 26; and 
Eccles. vii. 12. — The destruction of the poor 
is their poverty, i. e., on account of their desti- 
tution there is every instant threatening them 
an utter destruction or the sundering of all their 
relations; tbey therefore come to nothing, they 
are continually exposed to the danger of a com- 
plete ruin in all their circumstances, while to the 
rich man his means secure a sure basis and a 
strong protection in all the vicissitudes of life. 
Naturally the author is here thinking of wealth 
•well earned by practical wisdom; and this is at 
the same time a means in the further efforts of 
wisdom ; and again, of a deserved poverty which 
while the consequence of foolish conduct, always 
causes one to sink deeper in folly and moral 
need. Comp. the ver. following. Hitzig here 
following Jer. xlviii. 39 takes this destruction 
(Hi^nip) subjectively, as equivalent to "conster- 
nation, terror," [Noyes], which view, however, 
is opposed by the use of the expression in the 
preceding verse and in ver. 29. 

Ver. 16. The labor of the righteous, his 

acquisitions, his earnings, comp. 2 .John 8. — 
Tendeth to life, comp. xi. 19 and also xvi. 8. 
The contrast to this, " tendeth to sin," includes 
the idea not fully expressed, "and accordingly 
to all misfortune and ruin as the result of sin." 
Hitzig, " to expiation," i. e. to making good the 
losses which his sins bring upon him as just 
penalties (with a reference to Zech. xiv. 19 ; Jer. 
xvii. 3); Schultens, Arnoldi, Umbreit, etc., 
" to downfall, to misfortune." Both expositions 
fail to conform to the usual signification of DXtSn. 
Ver. 17. A-v/ay to life is he •who heedeth 
correction. "A way to life," (a well known 
expression like "a way, or path of life " in 
chap. v. 6, and therefore not to be changed by a 

new punctuation into C'n? H^N, " a traveller 
to life," as Ziegler and Ewald propose) ; so the 
wise obse»ver of good instruction is hei'e named 
because he also guides others to life, in contrast 
with the T])/r\TO, him who misleads, the despiser 
of wholesome discipline and correction, who not 
only fails of the right way himself, but shows 
himself an evil guide to others also (Matt. xv. 
14). [The rendering of the E. V., "is in the 
way," although Ibllowed by H., N., M., W., is 
not full and exhaustive enough. Such a man is 
not merely "in the way to life ;" he is a guide, 
by a bolder figure he is a way to other men. — 
A.] The intransitive conception of this parti- 
ciple (LXX, Vulg., LuTiiER, and also Umbreit, 
EwALD, etc.), may if necessary be reached by 
modifying the punctuation nj/|PO (Hithp., Hit- 
zig) ; but the " going astray" even then does not 
correspond remarkably with the " way to life," 
so far as this expression is correctly understood. 
[" This sentence is an example how sometimes 
that which is simplest and most obvious can be 
persistently missed : these words so simple and 
true have been refined upon because the real 
idea was not taken. The meaning is simply 
this: example is efficacious ;" e^c. Rueetschi, 
as above, p. 137]. 

Ver. 18. He that hideth hatred (hath) 
lying lips, strictly, "is lips of falsehood," i. e. 
is a man of deceitful lips. [Here again the E. V. 
sacrifices much of the original. " Lying lips" 
is not here instrumental; it is the predicate. 
So H., N., S., M., W.— a.] Comp. for this im- 
mediate personification of the sinning organ, 
chap. xii. 19, 22, where in the first instance the 
"lying tongue" and then the "lying lips" ap- 
pear personified. For the sentiment comp. xxvi. 
24. Peculiarly hard and arbitrary is Hitzig's 
exposition; that instead of "^P^'^ (falsehood) 
we should read "ItifP. (union), and that the ex- 
pression thus resulting, "close, compressed lips" 
(?) is to be taken as the description of the de- 
ceitfully and maliciously compressed mouth of 
the man who is full of hate! Ewald is also 
arbitrarj' (although following the LXX) ; that 
instead of "^ptif we should read pli* (righteous- 
ness) ; "the lips of the righteous hide liatred," 
i. e. cover their cnmitj' with love (?). — He •who 
spreadeth slander is a fool. The meaning 
of this 2d clause does not stand in the relation 
of an antithesis to the preceding, but that of a 

CHAP. X. 1-32. 


climax, adding a worse case to one not so bad. 
If one conceals liis liatred witliin himself he be- 
comes a malignant fliitterer; but if he gives ex- 
pression to it in slander, abuse and base detrac- 
tion, then as a genuine fool he brings upon 
himself the greatest injury. [Rueetscih objects 
to this, 1) that the analogy of xii. 19, 22 does 
not justify our taking the expression "lying 
lips" in the 1st clause as the predicate, and 2) 
that the emphatic pronoun "he" (XIH) in the 
2d clause is still less intelligible on this view of 
the structure of the verse ; he regards this rather 
as one of the instances, of no very rare occurrence, 
in which the two clauses make but one proposi- 
tion, and renders, " whoso conceals hatred with 
lying lips and at the same time utters slander — 
he is a fool," adding the explanation " one of the 
most odious of vices is where one conceals hatred 
under fine speech, and yet slanders behind the 
back ; such a man is in sight of God and men 
despised and spurned"]. 

Ver. 19. Transgression is not v/^anting. 
In tbis way is the verb to be rendered, with Uji- 
BREiT, HiTziG and most others : and not with 
Berthkau, transgression " does not vanish " (as 
though we had here something to do with a re- 
moval or obliteration of actual guilt) ; only with 
the former rendering does the antithesis in the 
2d member correspond, where it is plain that 
taciturnity and discretion in speech are recom- 
mended ; comp. xiii. 3 ; xvii. 27, 28. [Noyes's 
translation, " offence," has the fault, rare with 
him, of obscurity or ambiguity]. With the ex- 
pression " to govern the lips " compare the Latin 
compescere linyuam and the parallels from Arabic 
and Persian poets which Umbreit adduces in 
illustration of our passage. 

Ver. 20. Choice silver, as in chap. viii. 19 
(comp. 10) is here used to indicate a very great 
value. — Is of no ■worth, literally, "is as no- 
thing, is as a trifle," — a popular and proverbial 
circumlocution for the idea of utter nothingness 
or worthlessness. — Ver. 21. Feed many, i. e. 
nourish and refresh many with the wholesome doc- 
trines of godliness (comp. Eccles. xii. 11 ; Ezek.. 
xxxiv. 2 sq ; Acts xx. 28). — But fools die for 
want of knowledge, i. e. persistent fools 

(D'ViX) are not only incompetent to become to 
others teachers of truth and guides to life; they 
are in themselves children of death for their lack 
of understanding. 

7. Vers. 22-25. Four proverbs relating to the 
conduct of the righteous and the ungodly and 
their respective lots. The lot of the righteous, 
which consists in God's blessing which makes 
rich without any effort, forms the starting point 
of the description in ver. 22. — And labor add- 
eth nothing beside it, i. e. as supplementary 
and exterior to it, that divine blessing which is 
all in all, which enriches the friends of God even 
in sleep (comp. Ps. cxxvii. 2 [and in connection 
with this Hupfeld's comments: "Naturally this 
is not to be taken literally, as though perchance 
labor in itself were cast aside, and the Oriental 
indolence commended ; nor again is the privilege 
given to the pious of being released from ordi- 
nary human toils, and of folding their hands in 
reliance on their powerful Friend; the aim is 
only, after the emphatic and one-sided manner 

of the proverb to make prominent the other side 
of the case, overlooked by restless toilers, what 
God does in the matter, so as to warn against 
the delusion that man can conquer by his toil 
alone," etc-Y). This view is correctly taken by 
Jarchi, Levi be.\ Gerson, Ewald, Hitzig, etc., 
while others (LXX, Vulg., Umbreit, Bertheau, 
Elster, [the E. V., H., N., St., M.]) translate 
"and addeth no sorrow thereto." But then in- 
stead of n^;? we should rather have had H';^ 
(comp. Jer. xlv. 3). 

Ver. 2o. As sport to a fool is the practice 
of iniquity, literally, " like a laugh is it to the 
■fool to execute evil counsel." This "like sport" 
is then to be supplied also before the 2d member; 
"but to the man of understanding wisdom is as 
an enjoyment." [.M. agrees with our author 
whose view is both more forcible and more ac- 
cordant with the Hebrew idiom than that ex- 
pressed in the E. V. and retained by N. and S. : 
"a man of understanding has wisdom." More 
than this is meant : wisdom is his delight. — A.] 
The verb to practice (HltJ/jt^ ) is probably not to 
be supplied here before "wisdom" (ilODn) ; it 
is self-evident (in opposition to Hitzig's view) 
that wisdom is considered here as something 
practiced and not merely possessed. With the 
phrase "man of understanding," the discerning 
man, comp. xi. 12. 

Ver. 24. What the wicked feareth, lit., 
"the dread of the wicked." comp. Isa. Ixvi. 4; 
Job iii. 25; Prov. xi. 27. — The desire of the 
righteous is granted them. — The verb (iil'') 
can be regarded either as impersonal [like the 
German '■'■ es gibt,''' there is: comp. xiii. lO and Job 
xsxvii. 10], or directly changed to the passive 
(Ti^') as the Vulg., the Targums, and among re- 
cent interpreters Ewald and Hitzig. e. g., do. 
To supply as the -subject "Jehovah" (Aben 
Ezra, Ujibreit, Elster, Stuart, etc.) has its 
parallels indeed in xiii. 21, 22, but is here less 
natural than there. 

Ver. 25. When a storm sweepeth by the 
•wicked is no more. Thus correctly Ewald, 
Bertheau, Hitzig, [Holden, Stuart, Muen- 
sciier]. Against the conception of the first 
phrase ("113^3) as a comparison, "as a -storm 
sweepeth by, so," e^c. (Umbreit, Elster, [E. V., 
Noyes], etc.) we may urge the conjunction 1 before 
pX, as well as the idea of an "everlasting foun- 
dation" in the 2d member. With the latter -ex- 
pression comp. ver. 30, and also Ps. cxxv. 1. 
With the first clause comp. Job i. 19"; Isa. xxviii. 
18, 19; Prov. i. 27. 

8. Ver. 20. An isolated proverb relating to the 
uselessness and repulsiveness of the sluggish. 
Comp. xxii. 13, and also vi. 6 sq. ; xii. 27; xix. 
24. — As vinegar to the teeth. So the majority 
correctly render, while the LXX, Pesch., Arab., 

etc., falsely translate the noun (]*pn, comp. Num. 
vi. 3; Ps. Ixix. 22) by "sour grapes" {bu<pnS). — • 
To them that send him. Perhaps this phrase 
as referring to the idea which must be supplied, 
the authority, the master (D'JIIX), comp. xxv. 
13, might be translated by "his sender, his em- 
ployer." Comp. Hitzig on this passage. 



9. Vers. 27-30. Foui* proverbs bearing upon 
the prosperity of the pious and the ruin of the 
ungodly. With ver. 27 conip. iii. 1; ix. 11 : xiv. 
27. — Ver. 28. The expectation of the right- 
eous is gladness, i. e. us its object conu's mto 
possession of liim who indulges it. With the 2d 
clause comp. xi. 7; Job viii. 13; Ps. cxii. 10. 

Ver. 211. Jehovah's -way is a bulwark to 
the innocent. The nieuniug doubtless is. Jeho- 
vah's way in the adnainistration of the world, His 
providence, His righteous and gracious rule, 
proves itself to the pious a strong protection and 
defence (comp. the "strong city" of ver. 15, also 
Ps. xxxi. 21 ; xxxvii. 39; xliii. 2, etc.) [Wordsw. : 
wherever he goen he is in a casUel- Only with 
this objective conception of "Jehovaii's way" 
does the antithesis in the 2d clause agree (comp. 
vers. 14, 15), and not with the subjective, which 
makes it. religion, a devout life. Many, however, 


etc.) unite DP in one conception with '^'\1 and 
translate "A fortress is Jeliovah to the innocent" 
(upright in his way) ; comp. i^rov. xiii. G ; Job 
iv. 6. One must make his choice between the 
two interpretations, as both are grammatically 
admissible and yield essentially the same mean- 
ing. — Ver. 30. With the first clause comp. xii. 3: 
with the second, ii. 31 ; Ps. xxxvii. 29. 

10. Vers. 31, 32. Two proverbs standing iso- 
lated, treating of the mouth of the righteous and 
that of the ungodly and their respective utter- 
ances or fruits. The mouth of the righteous 
putteth forth wisdom, as the sap of a fruit- 
ful tree develops beautiful flowers and fruits ; 
comp. the "fruit of the lips," Isa. Ivii. 19 and the 
corresponding expression Kap~bq ;j;ejAf«v in Heb. 
xiii. It) — In the 2d clause this figure is aban- 
doned, so far as respects the expression "the 
perverse tongue ;" but the "is destroyed " re- 
minds distinctly enough of the hewing down and 
dying out of unfruitful trees; comp. Matth. iii. 
10 ; vii. 19. — Ver. 32. Know what is accep- 
table, i. e., are familiar with it, know how to 
say much of it. The noun |iyi is here ob- 
jective in its meaning, used of that which pro- 
duces delight (with God and men) the lovely, the 
charming (comp. Luke iv. 22). — Hitziq on sic- 
counl oi the (nroardCEi of the LXX (they distil, 
they send forth) reads p>^32 instead of J-U'T.' 
from which we do certainly gain a better paral- 
lelism of meaning with the 1st clause of the pre- 
ceding verse. And yet it seems at least suspi- 
cious to go so far in this endeavor to secure a 
parallelism in the contents of the two verses, as 
actually to transpose, as Hitzig does, the order 
of their second clauses, and so combine them in 
the following order: 31, 1st — 32, 2d — 32, 1st — 
31, 2d. [RuEETSciii, in his criticism upon this 
tampering with forms and arrangement, says : 
"It is all needless — nay, it destroys a beautiful, 
life-like thought, and substitutes for it a dry 
commonplace." Ver. 31 says: " The mouth of 
the righteous shooteth forth wisdom, but the 
perverse tongue is rooted out;" if the mouth of 
the righteous may be compared to a good tree or 
field, that must yield good fruit, the deceitful 
tongue is a bad tree, that can bear only rotten 
fruit, and for that very reason is cut down. 

rooted out, destroyed. Ver. 32 adds " The lips 
of the righteous know," etc. " The I'ighteous finds 
always, as if instinctively, what is acce])table — 
is, as it were, inspired with it, so that his lips, 
as it were, naturally find it, while, on the other 
hand, the wicked knows and understands only 
v.'hat is distorted or perverse, and his mouth 
therefore speaks only this" (as cited above, 
p. 138)]. 


The contrast between the righteous and the 
wicked, or between the wise and foolish, forms 
evidently the main theme of our chapter. This 
contrast, after being suggested in a general and 
prefatory way in ver. 1, is developed with spe- 
cial reference, 1) to the attainment or non-attain- 
ment on both parts of earthly possessions, espe- 
cially riches and a good name (vers. 2-7) ; 2) to 
their difi"ering dispositions as expressed by mouth 
and lips, the organs of speech, with diverse in- 
fluence on their prosperity in lif§ (vers. 8-14) ; 
3) to the eflFect, tending on the one side to bless- 
ing, on the other to destruction, which the labor 
of the two classes (whether with the hands or 
with the lips) has upon themselves and upon 
others (vers. 15-24 and ver. 26); 4) the different 
issues of the lives of both (vers. 25, 27-32). 
With the individual groups of proverbs, as we 
had occasion to combine them above in the exe- 
getical notes, these main divisions in the treat- 
ment of the subject correspond only in part ; for 
the formation of the groups was determined as 
we saw in manifold ways, and by quite external 
circumstances and relations. 

A peculiarly rich return, in an ethical view, is 
yielded by those maxims which refer to the 
earthly revenues and possessions of the pious 
and the foolish (2-7, 15, 16, 22, 27 sq.). They 
all serve to illustrate the great truth, "On God's 
blessing every thing depends," while they no less 
interpret that other saying (2 Thess. iii. 10; 
comp. vers. 4, 5 of our chapter), "If any man 
will not work, neither shall he eat." Eminently 
important and comparatively original (/. e., never 
before brought to an emphatic utterance) are 
also the proverbs relating to the worth of a cir- 
cumspect reserve in speech (vers. 8, 10, 13, 14, 
18, 19, comp. James iii. 3-12) ; those relating to 
the ease with which the evil man brings forth his 
evil and the good his good — plainly because an 
evil heart underlies the works of the one, a loving 
spirit the other's whole mode of action (ver. 23; 
comp. vers. 11, 12, 18, 20, and passages of the 
New Testament like Matth xii. 33-35; 1 John 
iii. 7 sq.; v. 3) ; and lastly those relating to the 
spiritual blessings for others also that spring 
forth from the mouth of the pious as the whole- 
some fruit of his wisdom (vers. 11, 21, 31 ; comp. 
Matth. vii. 16 sq.; John xv. 4 sq.; Gal. v. 22; 
Phil. i. 11; James iii. 18), 


Ilnmih/ on the entire chapter. The piotis and the 
ungodly compared in respect, 1) to their earthly 
good ; 2) to their worth in the eyes of men; 3) 
to their outward demeanor in intercourse with 
others ; 4) to their disposition of heart as this 

CHAP. X. 1-32. 


appears in their mien, their words, their acts ; 
5) to their diverse fruit, that which they produce 
in their moral influence on others; G) to iheir 
different fates, as awarded to them at last in the 
retribution of eternity. — Comp. Stockkr: True 
righteousness : 1) its basis (ver. 1) ; 2) its mani- 
festation and maintenance in life (vers. 2—5) ; 3) 
its utility (vers. 6, 7) : 4) the manner of its pre- 
servation and increase (ver. 8 sq.).* 

St.vrke : — The grent difference between the 
pious and the ungodly: 1) in respect to temporal 
blessings (vers. 1-7) ; 2) in respect to conduct 
(vers. 8-2G) ; 3) in respect to their prosperity 
and the issue of their deeds (vers. 27-32). — 
Calwer Ilandbuch : Of righteousness through 
wisdom and of unrighteousness through folly and 
mockery. 1) Warning against the vices which 
quench delight in righieousness (1-14); 2) admo- 
nition to the careful government of the tongue as 
that on which above all things else the life and 
the true fruits of righteousness depend (1-5-21); 
3) allusiou to riches, long life, the jo^'ful attain- 
ment of one's hopes, confidence in God, security, 
good counsel", etc., as impelling to rigiiteousness, 
as well as to the opposite of all these as the evil 
result of sin (22-32). 

Vers. 1-7 (Text adapted to a sermon on Educa- 
tion). Egard: Wilt, thou have joy and not sorrow 
in thy children, then train them in the nurture 
and admonition of the Lord (Eph. vi. 4). — Stock- 
er: Are there to be people tliat walk justly, i. e., 
honorably and sincerely before God, then must 
they be trained to it from childhood. The educa- 
tion of cliildreu is the foundation that must be 
laid fjr righteousness. — Ver. 3 sq. St.\rke : Al- 
though all depends chiefly on God's blessing, yet 
not for that reason is man discharged from labor. 
Labor is the ordinance in which God will reveal 
His blessing (Ps. cxxviii. 2). — Von Gerlach: 
The Lord maketh rich, but by the industry which 
the righteous by His grace exercise. — [Bp. But- 
ler: ilichos were first bestowed upon the world 
as they are still continued in it, by the blessing of 
God upon the industry of men, in the use of tlieir 
understamling and strength.] — Vers. G, 7. Osian- 
der (in Starke) : A good name among men is 
also reasonably to be reckoned among the excel- 
lent gifts of God, Ps. cxii. 6; Eccles vii. 1. — 
Geier : To the righteous not only does God grant 
good in this life and the future ; all good men 
also wish them all good and intercede for ii day 
by day, without their knowing or suspecting it, 
that it may descend on them from God. Matiy 
righteous men unknown, or even hated during 
their life, are first truly known after their death 
and distinguished by honors of every kind, as the 

* Stocker brings tho contents of chaps, x. — xxiv. in gene- 
ral under five title:^, corresponding to the five chief virtues: 
Justice, Modesty, WisJum, Temperance. Patience. To Jus- 
tice he as.sign8 the contents of chapters x and xi.; to Mo- 
deration chitps. xii. and xiii.; to Wisdom chaps, xiv.— xvi.: ' 
to Temperance chaps, xvii. — xxiii.; to Patience chap. xxiv. 
He liiraself admits the arbitrariness of this division, and yet 
tliinks there is no undue violence done thereby to the pro- 
verbs in question; for there is "in tliese proverbs ot ScjIo- 
mon (in chaps, x. — xxiv.) in general a certain quality such 1 
as we may have seen in a beautiful green meadow, on which \ 
all manner of beautiful, lovely, gimious flowers of many 
sorts and colors are to he fallen in with or found, which 
stand womlerfiilly mixed and confused, and are only after- 
wards to be brought and placed in aceitnin order by some | 
maiden who gathers them for a wreath." {iiermoiis, etc., I 
p. 16b.) I 

Apostles, Prophets, Martyrs, etc. The off"ensive- 
uess of the ungodly, on the contrary, where even 
so much as the mention of their name is involved, 
is perpetual. — Funeral discourse on ver. 7. 
ZiEGLER (in Zimmermann's ScnntagsJ'cier, 1858, 
jDp. 7G0 sq.): The memory of the just is blessed 
1) because of his winning friendship ; 2) because 
of his unfeigned piety ; 3) because of his stead- 
fast patience; 4) because of his noble, public- 
spirited activity. — [Ver. 7. J. Foster: The just 
show in the most evident and pleasing manner 
the gracious connexion which God has constantly 
maintained with a sinful world; they are verify- 
ing examples of the excellence of genuine reli- 
gion ; they diminish to our view the repulsive- 
iiess and horror of death ; their memory is com- 
bined with the whole progress of the cause of 
God on earth, — with its living agency through 
every stage. — Trapp : Be good and do good, so 
shall thy name be lieir to thy life.] 

Vers. 8-14. Geiee (on ver. 8) : Long as one 
lives he has to learn and to grow in knowledge, 
but above all also in the art of governing the 
tongue. A fool is in notliing sooner and better 
recognized than in his conversation — [Ver. 9. 
Barrow : Upright simplicity is the deepest wis- 
dom, and perverse craft the merest shallowness; 
he who is most true and just to others is most 
faithful and friendly to himself, and whoever 
doth abuse his neighbor is his own greatest cheat 
and foe. — BiiioGEs: "Show me an easier path" 
is nature's cry. "Show me," cries the child of 
God, "a sure path." Such is the upriglit walk, 
under the shield of the Lord's protection and 
providence ; under the shadow of His promises, 
in the assurance of His present favor, and in its 
peaceful end.] — J. Lange (on ver. 10): In his 
very bearing and gestures the Christian must so 
carry himself that there can be read in them 
true love, due reverence and sincerity. — He who 
has too many compliments for every body is sel- 
dom sincere; trust not such a one, etc. — [Ver. 11. 
Arnot: The Lord looks down and men look up 
expecting to see a fringe of living green around 
the lip of a Christian s life course.] — Zeltner 
(on ver. 12): Love is the noblest spice in all 
things, the first fruit of faith, the most useful 
thing in all conditions, yea, a truly Divine virtue, 
for God Himself is love. — Take love out of the 
world, and thou wilt find nothing but contention. 
Of the utility of true love one can never preach 
enough. [T.Adams: " Love covereth all sins," 
saith Solomon ; covers them partly from the eyes 
of God, in praying for the offenders ; partly from 
the eyes of the world in throwing a cloak over 
our brother's nakedness ; especially from its own 
eyes, by winking at many wrongs offered it.] — 
Cramer (on vers. 13, 14) : It is no shame to 
know nothing, but it is indeed to wish to know no- 
thing Learn in thy youth, and thou hast bene- 
fit therefrom thy life long. — Hasius (on ver. 13) : 
He who makes his tongue a rod to scourge others 
with, must often in turn give his back lo correc- 
tion. — Von Gerlach : The fool must like the 
beast be corrected with the stick, since he is ca- 
pable of no rational teaching. — [Bradford: He 
that trembleth not in hearing shall be broken to 
pieces in feeling.] 

Vers. 15-2G. Geier (on vers. 15, 16): Riches 
are a means that may be employed for good, but 



as, alas, generally happens, may be misused in 
the service of vanity and evil. Poverty is in it- 
self a sad thing (Prov. xxx. 8), and brings be- 
sides serious dangers to the soul ; for an humble 
heart, however, that, child-like, submits to God's 
correction and guidance, it may also become a 
security against many kinds of sins. — [Vers. 15, 
16. Tr.vpp: Surely this should humble us, that 
riches — tliat should be our rises to us up to 
God, or glasses to see the love of God in — our 
corrupt nature uses them as clouds, as clogs, etc., 
yea, sets them up in God's place. — Lord B\c6n: 
This is excellently expressed, that riches are as 
a stronghold in imagination, and not always in 
fact; for certainly great riches have sold more 
men than they have bought out. — Bridges: Our 
labor is God's work — wrought in dependence on 
Him — not for life, but to life. — Ver. 18. Barrow: 
Since our faculty of speech was given us as in 
the first place to praise and glorify our Maker, 
so in the next to benefit and help our neighbor, 
it is an unnatural, perverting and irrational 
abuse thereof to employ it to the damage, disgrace, 
vexation or wrong in any kind of our brother. — 
Arnot: Strangle the evil thoughts as they arc 
coming to the birth, that the spirits which trou- 
bled you within may not go forth embodied to 
trouble also the world. — They who abide in 
Christ will experience a sweet necessity of doing 
good to men; they who really try to do good to 
men will be compelled to abide in Christ.] — 
Starke (on ver. 18). Open hatred and secret 
slander are both alike works of Satan against 
which a true Christian should be on his guard — 
(On vers. 19-21) : The more one gives free course 
to his tongue, the more does he defile his con- 
science, comes too near God and his neighbor. 
But how usefully can a consecrated tongue be em- 
ployed in the instruction, consolation and counsel 
of one's neighbor ! Therefore let the Holy Spirit 
of God rule thy heart and thy tongue, Eph. iii. 29. 
(On ver. 28) : It is devilish to sin and then boast 
of sin. The wanton laughter of the wicked is 
followed at last, and often soon enough, by weep- 
ing and wailing, Luke viL 25. — (On ver. 24) : 

With all the good cheer of sinners th§re is yet 
sometimes found in them a strange unrest. Their 
own conscience chastises them and causes dis- 
may. — (On ver. 20) : Indolence is injurious to 
every one, whether in a spiritual or a secular 
calling. Not by ease, but by diligence and fide- 
lity does one honorably fulfil his office; 1 Cor. 
iv. 2. — [BuNYAN : All the hopes of the wicked 
shall not bring him to heaven; all the fears of 
the righteous shall not bring him to hell. — Ar- 
not : — Fear and hope were common to the 
righteous and the wicked in time: at the border 
of eternity the one will be relieved from all his 
fear, the other will be deprived of all his hope. 
— (On ver. 26) : The minor morals are not ne- 
glected in the Scriptures. He who is a Christian 
in little things is not a little Christian. He is 
the greatest Christian and the most useful. The 
baptism of these little outlying things shows that 
he is full of grace, for these are grace's overflow- 
ings.] — Berleb. Bible (on vers. 19-21): As si- 
lence is in many ways needful, as Christ Himself 
hath taught us by His own example, so on the 
other hand we should otFend God and rob Him 
of His honor if we would keep silence when He 
will have us speak. The lips of the righteous 
often serve God as an instrument by which He 
speaketh and instructeth him that needeth. 

Vers. 27-82. Zeltner: There is no grosser self- 
deception than when one in persistent impeni- 
tence and impiety yet imagines that he is at last 
to live in heaven. — Geier : If thy hope of eternal 
blessedness is not to fail thee, it must be based on 
the righteousness of Christ appropriated by faith, 
for this alone avails with God. — (On vers. 30) : 
Let us love and long for that whicdi is really eter- 
nal and unchangeable ; for only then can we say 
"I shall not be moved," Ps. x. 6; xxx. 6. — 
Starke (on vers. 31 , 32) : When God's honor and 
the edification and improvement of one's neighbor 
is not the chief end of our speaking ; it is a sign 
that eternal wisdom has not yet wholly sanctified 
our hearts, comp. ver. 13, 14. — Wohlfarth (oa 
vers. 23-32) : The sinner's fear and the hope of 
the righteous (comp. 1 John iv. 18 ; iii. 3). 

b) Comparison between the good results of piety and the disadvantages and penalties of ungod- 

Chaps. XI.— XV. 
a) With reference to just and unjust, benevolent and malevolent conduct towards one's neighbor. 

Chap. XI. 

1 A false balance is an abomination to Jehovah, 
but a true weight is his delight. 

2 Pride cometh, then conieth shame, 
but with the humble is wisdom. 

3 The integrity of the upright guideth them, 

but the perverseness of the ungodly shall destroy them. 

CHAP. XI. 1-31. 119 

4 Riches profit not in the day of wrath, 
but righteousness delivereth from death. 

5 The righteousness of the upright maketh smooth his way, 
but by his wickedness doth the wicked fall. 

6 The integrity of the upright delivereth them, 

but by their transgressions shall the wicked be taken. 

7 With the death of the wicked (his) hope cometh to nought, 
and the unjust expectation hath perished. 

8 The righteous is delivered from trouble, 
and the wicked cometh in his stead. 

9 The hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbor, 

but by the knowledge of the righteous shall they (he) be delivered. 

10 In the prosperity of the upright the city rejoiceth, 

but at the destruction of the wicked (there is) shouting. 

11 By the blessing of the upright is the city exalted, 
but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed. 

12 He that speaketh contemptuously of his neighbor lacketh wisdom, 
but a man of understanding is silent. 

13 He who goeth about as a slanderer revealeth secrets, 
he who is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter. 

14 Where there is no direction the people fall, 
but in a multitude of counsellors is safety. 

15 He shall fare ill that is security for a stranger, 
but whoso hateth suretyship liveth in quiet. 

16 A pleasing woman retaineth honor, 
and strong men retain riches. 

17 A benevolent man doeth good to himself, 
and the cruel troubleth his own flesh. 

18 The wicked gaineth a deceptive result, 

but he that soweth righteousness a sure reward. 

19 He that holdeth fast integrity (cometh) to life, 
but he that pursueth evil to his death. 

20 An abomination to Jehovah are the perverse in heart, 
but they that walk uprightly His delight. 

21 Assuredly (hand to hand) the wicked goeth not unpunished, 
but the seed of the righteous is delivered. 

22 A jewel of gold in a swine's snout, 

(and) a fair woman that hath lost discretion. 

23 The desire of the righteous is good only, 

the expectation of the wicked is (God's) wrath. 

24 There is that scattereth and it increaseth still, 
and (there is) that stinteth only to poverty. 

25 A liberal soul shall be well fed, 

and he that watereth others is also watered. 

26 Whoso withholdeth corn the people curse him, 

but blessings (come) upon the head of him that selleth it. 

27 He that striveth after good seeketh favor, 

bat he that searcheth for evil, it shall find him. 

28 He that trusteth in his riches shall fall, 

but as a green leaf shall the righteous flourish. 

29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit wind, 
and the fool shall be servant to the wise in heart. 

30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, 
and the wise man winneth souls. 

31 Lo, the righteous shall be recompensed on earth, 
much more the ungodly and the sinner. 




Ter. 2. — X3 is given by Bottched, J ?50. 1, as an example of the Perfeclum relalivum, the precise time being a matter 


of indifference. The luiperf. that follows is then a contingent tense describing a normal consequence, § 980 B.] 

Ver. 3. — mt!/l, to be read DtU'' with the K'ri. [Bottcher, in explaining forms like this, of which he adduces a ( on- 
T- : T - : 

siderable number, {i 920, /3, refers to but rejects the old exjdanation which makes the 1 an older form of the 3d personal 
prefix (from the pronoun X^n,li and regards it as representing in the view of the K'lhibh the conjunction 1, an error which 

is here corrected in the K'ri.j 

Ver. 15. — J^l in ^^'Tl' J,'"! is proliably not Infin. abs. Kal (which should be J,'T1), but a substantive, here used ad- 
verbially and attached to the reflexive Future Niphal _j;i"T to strengthen the idea. [Fuerst, while giving ^'T as an iutran- 

Bitive Infin. nbs., also suggests that it may bf, a noun, giving it however the place and power of a masc. and not a neuter, 
and making it the subject, " de.r Schlecthandeinde,"^he that manages ill.] 

Ver. 25. — >{"ir is either to bo taken as the Imperf Hophal of XT'^m^i or by change of pointing to be read X1-V 

'." T * 

and this is then to be regarded as another form of HT^' (Illiziu ; comp. Zieglek and Elsier). 


1. Vers. 1-11. Eleven proverbs on the value 
of a just demeanor towards one's neighbor, and 
on the curse of unrighteousness. — With vers. 1 
comp. XX. 10, 23, and also Meidani's collection of 
Arabic proverbs, III., 538, where the first mem- 
ber at least appears, and tbat too expressly as a 
proverb of Solomon. — A true weight, lit., 
" a full stone;" comp. Deut. xxv. 13, where PX 
in like manner signifies the weight of a balance. 
— Ver. 2. Pride cometh, then cometh 
Bhame ; — lit., "there hath come priile, and tliere 
will come shame," i. e., on the prouil ; conip. xvi. 
18; xviii. 12. — But vyith the humble is wis- 
dom. — That wisdom, -namely, which confers 
honor (iii. 16; viii. 18). "The humble," derived 
from nji*, which in Chaldee signifies "to con- 
ceal," denote strictly those who hide themselves, 
or renounce self (ra-rtEivol, raTreivoOfwvg^). — Ver. 
3. The (faithlessness of the false) perverse- 
ness of the ungodly destroyeth them. — 
" Destroyeth," — from tljo root Ity which means 
" violently to fall upon and kill," iiud not merely to 

"desolate" (comp. Jer. v. 6). ^jp_ should in ac- 
cordance with the Arabic be explained either by 
"falseness, perverseness " (as ordinarily), or 
with IliTzir, " trespass, transgression." — Ver. 4. 
In the day of wrath, viz., the Divine wrath and 
judgment; comp. Zeph. i. 18; Ezek. vii. 19; Job 
xxi. 30. With reference to the general thought 
comp. chap. x. 2. — Vers. 5 and 6 are exactly pa- 
rallel not only each to the other, but also to 
ver. 3. Comp. also iii. G ; x. 8. — And by their 
lusts are the w^icked taken. — Literally, 
"and by tlie lusts ('cravings' as in x. 13) 
of the wicked (false) are they (the wicked) 
taken ;" the construction is the same therefore as 

in Gen. ix. 6 ; Ps. xxxii. G ; comp. also ver. 3. 

Ver. 7. — A further development of the idea in 
the second clause of x. 28. — The unjust ex- 
pectation. — Lit., "the expectation of depravi- 
ties, of wickedness " (D'Jl'X plur. of p*-*). Most 
interpreters regard the noun here as an abstract 
for a concrete : " the ex[)ectation of the ungodly, 
the wicked" [so De W., E. V., IL, N., M., W.]. 
EwALD interprets it in accordance with lies. ix. 
4 by "sorrows" (continuance of sorrow) ; others 
in accordance with Is. xl. 26, render it by 
"might." In support of our interpretation see 
HiTziG on this passage. [Fuerst suggests that 

the form may be participial from the verb px 
with the signification "the troubled, the sorrow- 
ing," and BoTTCHEK, § 811, 3, deriving it as a 
participial form from HJX, reaches the same 
meaning; this is also Stuart's view, while 
Kampu. agrees with our author — A.] The anti- 
thesis in idea between the first and second 
clauses which is lacking in this verse, the LXX 
attempts to supply by reading in the first clause 
"when the righteous man dieth, hope doth not 
IJerish" {TE?iEvT/'/aavTog avc^por Sikcuov ovk o'/J.vraL 
iVvTtf) ; they thus put the hope of the righteous 
reaching beyond death in contrast with the hope- 
less end of the life of the ungodly. This thought 
the original text certainly does not express; but 
immortality and a future retribution are yet pre- 
sumptively suggested in the passage, as Mun- 
TiNGHE, Umbiieit, Lutz {Bihl. Dogmatih, p. 100, 
etc..') and others have correctly assumed. Comp. 
the "Doctrinal " notes. 

Ver. 8. The righteous is delivered from 
trouble, etc. — This proposition presented so con- 
clusively "cannot be the result of experimental 
observation, but only the fresh, vigorous expres- 
sion of faith in God's justice, such as believes 
where it does not see " (Elstee). — Ver.'.'. The 
flatterer (hypocrite) w^ith his mouth de- 
stroyeth his neighbor. — For the verbal ex- 
planation of npn which, according to the old Rab- 
binical tradition, and according to the Vulgate, 
denotes a hypocrite (Vulg., simulator), comp. Hit- 
ziG on this passage. He moreover needlessly al- 
ters this first clause in harmony with the LXX 
(in the mouth of the hypocrite is a snare for his 
neighbor), and gives to the second member also a 
totally difl'erent form; "and in the misfortune of 
the righteous do they rejoice."— By the know- 
ledge of the righteous are they delivered; 
— they, i. e., his neighbors ; the sing, "his neigh- 
bor," which is altogether general, admits of be- 
ing thus continued by a verb in the plural. The 
meaning of the verse as a whole is " By the pro- 
tective power of that knowledge which serves 
righteousness, they are delivered who were en- 
dangered by the artifices of that shrewdness 
which is the instrument of wickedness" (Li- 

Ver. 10. In the prosperity of the upright. 
— 3-";£33, an infinitive construction; literally, 
"when it goes well to the righteous," as in 
the second clause 1^X3, "in the perishing," 
when they perish. Comp. xxix. 2. — IIiTzia 

CHAP. XI. 1-31. 


strikes out this verse mainly to secure again 
within vers. 4-11 a group of seven provcrb.'^i, as 
before in x. 29 — xi. 3, but without being able to 
allege any ground whatever of suspicion that is 
really valid. — Ver. 11 gives the reason why the 
population of a city rejoices at the prosperity of 
the righteous ;ind exults at the dowutall of the 
wiclvcd. — By the blessing of the righteous is 
the city esalted, — /. c, by the be)u'ficeiit and 
salutary words and acts (not by the benevolent 
wishes only) of tiie rigliteous (literally, "the 
straight, true, straigiitforward ") is the city 
raised to a flourishing condition and growth, 
exaltabilur civitais (Vulg. ). Not so well Elster: 
"is the city made secure'" — as if the idea here 
related to the throwing up walls of defence. 

2. Vers. 12-15. Four proverbs against talka- 
tiveness, a slanderous disposition, foolish counsel 
and thoughtless suretyship. — He that speak- 
eth contemptuously of his neighbor. — 
This is the rendering here required to correspond 
with the antithesis in the second clause ; comp. 
xiv. 21 ; xiii. 13. [The E. V. and Holden in- 
vert this relation of subject and predicate, while 
Dk W., K., N., S., and M. agree with our author 
in following the order of the original — A.] — Ver. 
13. He that goeth about as a slanderer be- 
trayeth secrets. — With this expression, " to go 
tattling, to go for slander," comp. Lev. xix. lb; 

Jer. ix. 3. With the expression ^^D H^J, revela- 
vit arcanum, "to reveal a secret," comp. xx. 19: 
XXV. 9; Am. iii. 7. That not this "babbler of 
secrets" is subject of the clause (IIitzig), but 
"he that goeth slandering," the parallel second 
clause makes evident, where with the "slan- 
derer" is contrasted the faithful and reliable, 
and with the babbler the man who "concealeth 
the matter, i. e., the secret committed to him." 
Comp. Ecclesiasticus xxvii. 10. 

Ver. 14. Where there is no direction. 
— For this term comp. i. 5. — In the multi- 
tude of counsellors there is safety. — This 
thought recurring again in xv. '11 ; xxiv. 6, 
is naturally founded on the assumption that the 
counsellors are good and intelligent persons, and 
by no means conflicts with the conditional truth 
of the modern proverb, "Too many cooks spoil 
the broth;" or this, "He who asks long errs 
long," etc. 

Ver. 15. He shall fare ill that is surety for 
a stranger. — "111, ill does it go with him, — 
ill, very ill will he fare, — ill at ease will he be," 
etc Instead of "who is surety," etc., the origi- 
nal has literally "if one is surety," etc. — With 
the second clause comp. remarks above ou chap. 
Ti. 1 sq. Instead of D'J^p'in (partic.) we ought 
probably to read here D'J'^pn (subst.) (Hitzig), 
or to take the plural participle in the sense of 
the abstract "striking liands " (instead of 
"those striking hands)." Thus, e.g., Umbrkit. 
Not so well the majority of commentators (Ewald, 
Bertheait, PjLster, among others), wlio read 
"he that liateth sureties," i. e., who will not 
belong to their number, who avoids fellowship 
with such as lightly strike hands as sureties, 
who therefore does not follow their example. 

3. Vers. 16-28. Eight proverbs of miscellaneous 
import, mostly treating of the blessing thatattends 

righteousness and the deserved judgment of im- 
piety. — A gracious woman retaineth honor 
and strong men retain riches. — So reads 
the Hebrew text, according to which there ia 
a comparison made here ; as mighty men (lit., 
" tyrants, terrible men," comp. ji/aarai, Matth. 
xi. 12) retain their wealth and will not allow it 
to be torn from them, with the same energy. and 
decision does a " gracious woman " (comp. v. 19) 
watch over her honor as an inalienable posses- 
sion. Comp. the similar sentiment, chaj). xxix. 
23 (where we have the same, "lioldeth fast ho- 
nor"); and as to the force of comparative sen- 
tences formed thus simply with the copulative 
conjunction 1, comp. xxv. 25 ; xxvi. 9 ; Job v. 7 ; 
xii. 11 ; xiv. 18, 19, e^c— The LXX, whom 
ZiEGLER, EwALD, HiTZiG foUow, read D'^-nn 
(('. e., diligent men, comp. x. 4), and besides in- 
sert two clauses between the first and second of 
this verse, so that the whole proverb has this 
expanded form : 
"A gracious woman obtaineth honor; 

but a throne of disgrace is she that hateth 
The idle will be destitute of means, 

but the diligent will obtain wealth." 
For the authenticity of this fuller form may be 
urged especially the vigorous expression " throne 
of disgrace" (iJ/iowf dn/jiag), which is hardly 
the product of later invention, but rather agrees 
antithetically with the expression which is seve- 
ral times found, " a seat or throne of honor" 
ODD ND3), 1 Sam. ii. 8 ; Is. xxii. 23 ; Jer. xvii. 
12. [While RuEETSCHi (as cited above, p. 138) 
seems to admit the antiquity of the form repro- 
duced in the version of the LXX, he thus defends 
and amplifies the sense of the shorter form found 
in the Masoretic text, " A woman is powerful by 
her grace as the mighty are by their strength. 
In grace there lies as great force as in the im- 
posing nature of the mighty ; nay, the power of 
the strength of the latter gains only more pro- 
perty, while the woman gains honor and esteem, 
which are of more worth."] 

Ver. 17. The benevolent man doeth good 
to himself. — Lit., "the man of love," who by 
the goodness which he manifests towards otliers, 
benefits his own soul. The second clause in its 
contrast with this: "And his own flesh doth the 
cruel trouble," does not aim to characterize any 
thing like the unnatural self-torture of gloomy 
ascetics, but to express the simple thought that 
on account of the penalty with which God re- 
quites cruel and hard-hearted conduct, such con- 
duct is properly a raging against one's self. 
Thus the LXX had correctly expressed the idea, 
and among modern interpreters Hitzig, Elster, 
etc., while the great body (U.mbreit, Ewald, 
Bertheau among them), comparing Ecclesiast. 
xiv. 5, find the meaning of the verse to be directed 
against niggardliness, or ascetic self-torture: 
He who deals harshly and unkindly with him- 
self will treat others also no better." 

Ver. 18. The wiciced gaineth delusive 
gains, — I. e. such as result in no good to liimself, 
such as escape from under his hands. Comp. x. 
2, and with reference to hSj-'S, gain, acquisition, 
X. 10. — But he that soweth righteousness, 



a sure reiward. — The "sure reward" (i"10X "^?."^' 
perliaps in its sound in intentional accord with 
"^p'd in the first memberj is also governed by the 

verb "gaineth" or "workethout" {piyp); comp. 
Jer. xvii. 11, etc. For this figure of "sowing 
righteousness," i. e. the several riglit acts, which 
like a spiritual seed-corn are to yield as their 
harvest the rewards of God's grace, comp. James 
iii. 18; 1 Cor. ix. 11 ; 2 Cor. ix. G ; also Job iv. 
8; Gal. vi. 8, etr. — "Whoso holdeth fast integ- 
rity (cometh) to life. — j3 before T^p^\}i (right- 
eousness) if genuine, (the LXX and Syriac ver- 
sions read instead J3, " son "), can be only an 

adjective or participle derived from the verb p3 
" to be firm," having the meaning " firm" (comp. 
Gen. xlii. 11, 19) ; it therefore denotes "the stead- 
fast in righteousness," {. e. as the antithetic 
phrase in the 2d member shows, "he who holds 
fast to righteousness, who firmly abides in it." 
Thus ZiEGLER, EwALD, Umbreit, Elster, etc. 
Others, like Cocceius, Schultens, Michaelis, 
DciDERLEiN, take the word as a substantive — 
steadfastness (?) ; still others regard it as a par- 
ticle in the ordinary meaning "thus" (by which 
construction however the verse would lose its 
independent character, and become a mere ap- 
pendage to the preceding proverb) ; and finally, 
HiTZiG conjecturally substitutes DJ3 and trans- 
lates "As a standard is righteousness to life." 

Vers. 20, 21. Two new maxims concerning the 
contrasted lot of the righteous and the wicked, 
serving to confirm vers. 18 and 19. With ver. 
20 comp. ii. 21 ; xvii. 20. — Assuredly, literally, 
"hand to hand," a formula of strong assevera- 
tion, derived from the custom of becoming surety 
by clasping hands (ver. 1-5), and therefore sub- 
stantially equivalent to " I pledge it, I guarantee 
it." Comp. the German formula which challenges 
to an honest self-scrutiny, " die Hand au/'s 
Herz !" (the hand on the heart I); and for "the 
sentiment of the 1st clause compare xvi. 5. 
[FuERST and K. regard the formula as one of 
asseveration ; Gesen., De W. and Noyes inter- 
pret, by the analogy of some similar expres- 
sions in cognate languages, as referring to time, 
"through all generations;" H., M., S. and W. 
retain the rendering of the E. V., " though hand 
join in hand." The exceeding brevity of the 
Hebrew formula stimulates inquiry and conjec- 
ture without clearly establishing either interpre- 
tation. — A.] — But the seed of the righteous 

escapeth, literally, "delivers itself" (0*70: a Ni- 
phal participle with reflexive meaning), that is, 
in the day of the divine wrath, comp. vers. 4, 23. 
The " seed of the righteous " is not the posterity 
of the righteous [soboles juntorum, Schaller, 
Rosenmueller, Bertheau) but is equivalent to 
the multitude, the generation of the righteous. 
Comp. Isa. Ixv. 23, " the seed of the blessed of 

Ver. 22. A gold ring in a swine's snout ; a 
fair -woman that hath lost discretion. — This 
last phrase (D>2^ ^1'^) literally denotes "one 
who has turned aside in respect to taste," i. e. 
one who lacks all moral sensibility, all higher 
appreciation of beauty and sense of propriety, 

in a word, a chaste and pure heart, — an unchaste 
woman. Only with this conception does the 
figure of the swine agree, and not with that 
given by RosExN.mueller, Berthe.^u, Ewald, 
Elster, " without judgment," i. e. stupid, weak. 
Compare furthermore the Arabic proverb here 
cited by Hitzig (from Scheid's Selecta quxdam 
ex sententiis, etc., 47) : "3Iulier sine verecundia est 
ut cibus sine sale, [a woman without modesty is 
like food without salt]. For the "gold ring" 
(ring for the nose, DiJ, not circlet for the hair, 
Luther) comp. Gen. xxiv. 47 ; Isa. iii. 21, and 
also in general what is cited by Umbreit, in con- 
nection with this passage, on the habits of the 
Eastei'n women in respect to this kind of orna- 

Ver. 23. The desire of the righteous is 
good only, — i. e. nothing but prosperity and 
blessing, because Goil rewards and prospers them 
in everything. Comp. x. 28, and with the 2d 
clause where "wrath" denotes again God's wrath, 
comp. ver. 4 above. 

4. Vers. 24-26. Three proverbs .ngainst ava- 
rice, hard-heartedness and usury. — Many a one 
scattereth and it increaseth still. — ^Comp. 
Ps. cxii. 9 (2 Cor. ix. 9), where the same verb is 
used of the generous distribution of benefactions, 
of scattering {oKop-i^ea') in the good sense (differ- 
ent from that of Luke xv. 13). For it is to this only 
true form of prodigality, this " sowing of righte- 
ousness" that the expression applies, as the two 
following verses plainly show. — And many 
save only to poverty, literally, "and a with- 
holder of wealth only to want;" (thus Bertheau 
correctly renders, following Schultens, etc.y 
With the participial clause (l^'O W^l) *^® ^^■■ 
firmative of the preceding clause {U]_, there is, 
there appears) still continues in force. Hitzig's 
attempted emendation is needless, according to 
which we ought to read VJ_] D'^t^ni in corre- 
spondence with the language of the LXX, eIcI 6i 
Kul oi cvvdyovTE^. Others, like Schellixg, Um- 
breit, EwALD, Elster (comp. also Luther), 
translate "who withholdeth more than is right;" 
but thus to give a comparative force to JO after 
■ijbn has no sufficient grammatical support, and 
instead of '^li'''0 we should, according to xvii. 
26, rather expect '^p/' i^_. The signification 
"wealth," ojoM/ert<«cf. for "^p/ is abundantly con- 
firmed by the corresponding Arabic word. 

Ver. 2-5. A liberal soul is well fed, lit., 
"a soul of blessing is made fat," comp. xiii. 4; 
xxviii. 2.5; Ps. xxii. 29; Isa. x. 16; xvii. 4, etc. 
— And he that watereth others is likewise 
w^atered, lit., "he that sprinkleth others is also 
sprinkled" (comp. Vulgate, '^ inebriat .... in- 
ebriabilur"). The meaning of the expression is 
unquestionably this, that God will recompense 
with a corresponding refreshing the man who 
refreshes and restores others. Comp. Jer. xxxi. 
14, and with reference to the general sentiment 
Eccles. xi. 1 ; Ecclesiast. xi. 11, etc. 

Ver. 26. Whoso withholdeth corn, him 
the people curse. — The withholding of grain is 
a peculiarly injurious form of the "withholding 

of property" mentioned in ver. 24. 01S< /, people, 

CHAP. XI. 1-31. 


multitude, as in xxiv. 24. With the 2d clause 
comp. X. 6. 

5. Vers. 27-31. Five additional proverbs re- 
lating to the contrast between the righteous and 
the wicked and their several conditions. — 
Seeketh favor, that is, God's favor, gratiam Dei; 
comp. Ps. V. 12 ; Isa. xlix. 8. With the senti- 
ment of ver. 27 compare in general x. 2-4; Am. 
V. 14 sq. 

Ver. 28. He that trusteth in his riches 
shall fall. — Comp. x. 2 : Ps. xlix. 6 ; Ecclesiast. 
V. 8.— But as a green leaf shall the righteous 
flourish. Comp. Ps. xcii. 12; Isa. Ixvi. 14. "As 
a leaf," /. e. like a fresh, green leaf on a tree, in 
contrast with the withered, falling leaf, to which 
the fool should rather be compared who trusts in 
his riches. Jaegeb and Hitziq (following the 

LXX) read hS^OI "and he who raiseth up," 
that is, raiseth up the righteous man, proves 
himself their helper in time of need. On account 
of the appropriate antithesis to the 1st clause 
this reading is perhaps preferable. 

Ver. 29. He that troubleth his own house, 
lit., "saddeneth" (as in ver. 17), i. e. tiie avari- 
cious man, who is striving after unjust gains, 
straitens his own household, deprives them of 
their merited earnings, oppresses and distresses 
them, etc.; comp. chap. xv. 27 ; 1 Kings xviii. 17 
(where Elijah is described by Ahab as the man 
that "troubleth" Israel, i. c. allows them to 
suifer, brings them into calamity). — Shall in- 
herit wind, i. e. with all his avaricious, hard- 
hearted acting and striving will still gain nothing. 
Comp. Isa.xxvi. 18; Hos. viii. 7. — The fool be- 
cometh servant to the \wise in heart, that is, 
this same foolish niggard and miser by his very 
course is so far reduced that he must as a slave 
serve some man of understanding (a master not 
avaricious but truly just and compassionate). 
Comp. ver. 24. 

Ver. 30. The fruit of the righteous, i. e. that 
which the rigiiieous man says and does, the re- 
sult of his moral integrity, and not in an alto- 
gether specific sense, his reward, as Hitzig 
maintains (in accordance with Jer. xxxii. lU). 
— Is a tree of life (comp. note on iii. 18), 
a growtli from which there springs forth life 
for many, a fountain of blessing and of 
life for many. Umbreit, Elster and others 
unnecessarily repeat "fruit" Cl^) before the 
"tree of life" (D"n |*;,») ; "is a' fruit of the 
tree of life." — And the •wise man vrinneth 
souls, by the irresistible power of his spirit he 
gains many souls for the service of God and for 
the cause of truth. [The E. V. which has the 
support of H., S., and M., here again inverts the 
order of subject and predicate, conforming to the 
order of the original. The parallelism seems to 
favor our author's rendering which is also that 
of De W. and N. Both conceptions are fall of 
meaning and practical value. — A.] Hitzig here 
again alters in accordance with the LXX, sub- 
stituting D:on for DDH; "but violence takoth 

^ T T T T 

life" (? !). ZlEGLER, DoDERLEIN, D.\THE, Ew- 

ALD transpose the clauses of vers, 29 and 30 into 
this ordc<r: 29, 1st: 30, 1st; 29, 2d; 30, 2d. 
For arguments against this violent transposition 

of clauses see Umbreit, Bektheau and Hitziq 
on this passage. 

Ver. 31. Behold the righteous shall be 
recompensed on earth. That the "shall 
be recompensed" denotes specifically requital by 
punishment, and therefore the retribution of the 
sins of the righteous, cannot be positively main- 
tained on account of the comprehensiveness of 

the idea of recompense [UlV). Yet a compari- 
son with the 2d clause unquestionably makes this 
specific meaning very natural; the whole then 
appears as an aryumentatio a majori ad minus, and 
Luther's rendering, " Thus the righteous must 
suffer on earth," substantially hits the true 
meaning. On the other hand the Alexandrian 
version introduces a foreign idea when it renders, 
"If the righteous be scarcely saved" (Ei 6 ^lev 
diKaiog /j.6?i.ig cui^erac, — see also the New Testa- 
ment's citation, 1 Pet. iv. 18) ; for the verb UlV 
never signifies "to be delivered." 


That it is chiefly that righteousness which is lo 
be manifested in intercourse with one's neighbor 
that is commended in the proverbs of our chap- 
ter, and against the opposite of which they all 
warn, needs no detailed proof. For the first 
eleven verses relate solely to this antithesis, and 
in the second and larger section of the chapter 
also there are added to the proverbs which refer 
to the duties of justice for the most part only 
commendations of merciful, and censures of 
cruel, hard-hearted conduct (vers. 17, 18, 24-26, 
29, 30). Those proverbs which have reference 
to the lack of intelligent counsellors (14), to in- 
considerate suretyship (15), and to feminine 
grace and purity (16, 22), take their place among 
the precepts which enjoin righteousness in the 
widest sense (in so far as wisdom in rulers is an 
absolutely indispensable condition of prosperity 
in civil, and a wise economy and womanly honor 
in domestic society). The separation of these 
interspersed proverbs, it is true, renders it im- 
possible to demonstrate within the section before 
us (vers. 12-31), any grouping as undertaken 
according to a definite principle of classification. 

To that which is comparatively new in the 
dogmatical or ethical line, as presented in our 
chapter, there belongs above all else the sugges- 
tion of a hope of immortality in ver. 7. With the 
death of the ungodly all is over for him; from 
the future life he has nothing more to hope; he 
has had his good here below in advance; his re- 
ward has been paid him long beforehand ; there 
awaits him henceforth nothing more than a 
cheerless, hopeless condition of unending pain, 
" a fearful awaiting of judgment and fiery indig- 
nation that shall consume the rebellious" (Heb. 
X. 27; conip. Luke xvi. 25 ; Matt. vi. 2, 16; vii. 
23; XV. 12, etc.). This is the series of thoughts 
which is inevitably suggested by the proposition 
"with tlie death of the wicked hope perishes;" 
the bright reverse of this here quite as distinctly 
as in the similar representations of the Psalms, 
especially in the 49th Psalm, which is so pre- 
eminently important for the doctrine of the Old 
Testament concerning immortality and future 
retribution, depicts the certainty that the right- 



eons will attain to an eternally blessed life, — a 
cei'tainty whose foundation is in God (comp. Ps. 
xlix. 14. 15, and in connection with this HoF- 
MANN, Schriflbew., II. 2, p. 467). Elster denies 
that the sentiment of the vei-se points indirectly 
to a life after death, because "according to the 
doctrine of Proverbs the hope of tlie righteous 
is already fulfilled in the earthly life" (comp. 
also Brucu, Wei-iheiiiilehre, etc., p. 117). But the 
doctrine of retribution set forth in our book is 
(see below, remarks on xiv. 32) as far from being 
an exclusively earthly one, limited to the present 
life, as that of the Psalms or the Book of Job 
(comp. DuLiTzscii on .Job xix. 2'! sq. ; and also 
KoNiG, Die Unsterhliclikeitdehre de.s Baches Iliob, 
1855). And as respects our chapter in particular, 
the two-fold allusion to the divine wrath (vers. 
4, 23), and the assurance which is expressed 
altogether without qualification, that "the wicked 
will not go unpunished" (ver. 21; comp. notes 
above on this passage), point with sufficient 
clearness to this conclusion, that to the religious 
consciousness of the author of our Proverbs a 
retribution beyond the grave was an established 
fact. The closing verse of the chapter, " Be- 
hold, the righteous is recompensed on earth; 
how much more the ungodly and the sinner!" is 
by no means opposed to tliis view. For the main 
stress here falls not upon the "on earth," but 
upon "the righteous" (comp. the exegetical ex- 
planation of the passage) ; and it is not the cer- 
tainty of a visitation of sin occurring within the 
earthl;/ life, but the certainty of such a visitation 
in general upon the wrong committed on the 
earth (by the righteous as well as the wicked), 
that forms the proper substance and object of 
the expression. 

Besides these, characteristic utterances of our 
chapter that are of special dogmatical and ethi- 
cal significance are, the announcements concern- 
ing the blessing which goes fortii from wise and 
upright citizens upon their fellow-citizens (vers. 
10, 11, 1.4, comp. especially the exegetical com- 
ments on the last passage) ; concerning the seri- 
ous injury which the hard-hearted and cruel 
does above all to himself, especially when he 
leaves his own liouse and his nearest connections 
to suffer from his avarice (vers. 17, 29, comp. 
1 Tim. V. 8) ; concerning the blessing of benefi- 
cence, and the injurious and perverse nature of 
avarice in general and of avaricious usury in 
particular (vers. 24-2G) ; and finally concerning 
the life-giving ami soul-refreshing power whicli 
the conduct of a just and truly wise man has, 
like a magnet endowed with peculiar attractive 
power and working at a distance (ver. 30, comp. 
Matt. xii. 30, the "gathering with the Lord"), 


Homily on (he entire chapter. Not justice only, 
which gives and leaves to everyone his own, but 
love, which from spontaneous impulse resigns its 
own to others, and even for God's sake and in 
reliance on Him scatters it without concern, — 
this is the conduct of the truly wise. For "love 
worketii no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is 
the fulfilling of the law" (Rom. xiii. 10). — (."oinp. 
Stockkr : .Justice, as Solomon here commends it, 
relates 1) to private life (vers. 1-9) ; 2) to civil 

life (vers. 10-15); 3) to domestic life (vers. 16- 
31) ; it is therefore j'uslitia privata, publica, oecono- 
mica. — Starke : — The advantage which the pious 
have from their piety, and the injury which the 
I wicked experience from their wickedness: 1) 
from righteousness and unrighteousness in busi- 
ness in general; 2) from good and evil conduct 
with respect to the honorable fame of one's 
neighbor (vers. 12, 13) ; 3) from good and evil 
government (vers. 14, 15) ; 4) from seeking or 
Contemning true wisdom (vers. 16-23) ; 5) from 
beneficence or uncharitableness (vers. 24-31). 

Vers. 1-11. iMi:L.\xcHTHON (on ver. 1): Weight 
and balance are judicial institutions of the Lord, 
and every weight is His work. But marriage 
compacts also, political confederacies, civil com- 
pacts, judgments, penalties, etc., are ordinauceb 
of Divine wisdom and justice, and are effectively 
superintended by God. — (on ver. 2) : Usually in 
prosperity men become remiss both in the fear of 
God, and also in prayer. If in this way God's 
fear is at length wholly stifled, men in their car- 
nal security allow themselves all manner of en- 
croachments on the rights of their neighbor. 
Experience has, however, taught even the heathen 
that certain penalties do by Divine ordinance in- 
fallibly overtake such pride and arrogance when 
these pass beyond the bounds of one's calling, 
and they have therefore designated this law of 
the Divine administration of tlie world according 
to which pride is the sure precursor of a speedy 
fall by the expression adpaareia, "inevitability." 
Comp. 1 Pet. v. 5 sq. [Arnot : God claims to 
be in merchandize, and to have His word circling 
through all its secret channels. — Bridges: Com- 
merce is a providential appointment for our so- 
cial intercourse and mutual helpfulness. It is 
grounded with men upon human faith, as with 
God upon Divine faith. — Jermyn : Such & perfect 
stone is a perfect jewel, and a precious stone in 
the sight of God.— Ver. 2. Trapp : The humble 
man, were it not that the fragrant smell of his 
niany virtues betrays him to the world, would 
choose to live and die in his self-contenting se- 
crecy.] — J. Lange (on vers. 1-3): Pride and 
malignity are, so to speak, the first nurses of in- 
justice in business, Ecclesiast. x. 15, 16. — 
[Ver. 6. Trapp: Godliness hath many troubles, 
and as many helps against trouble. — Ver. 8. 
Bridges: The same providence often marks Di- 
vine faithfulness and retributivejustice.] — Geier 
(on vers. 7, 8) : The righteous man is in the end 
surely free from his cross ; if it does not come 
about as he wishes, then assuredly it does as is 
most useful for him ; if not before his temporal 
death then in and by means of this. — (On vers. 
10,11). The growth and prosperity of a civil 
community is to be ascribed not so'much to its 
political regulations as rather to the prayers of 
its pious citizens, who therefore deserve above 
others to be protected, honored and promoted. — 
J. Lange (on vers. 10. 11). Pious and devout 
rulers of a city or a land are a great blessing, for 
which we should diligently pray, lest God should 
peradventure chastise us with tyrannical, selfish, 
ungodly masters. 

Vers. 12-15. Geier (on vers. 12, 13): Taci- 
turnity is never too highly praised, nor is it 
ever thoroughly acquired. Disgraceful and in- 
jurious as loquacity is, equally admirable is true 

CHAP. XI. 1-31. 


reserve in speech. — (On ver. 14) : The welfare of 
a land does indeed by all means depend on wise 
and faithful counsellors; yet to God, the supreme 
source of all prosperity, must the highest honor 
ever be rendered. — Rue del (on ver. 14 — in 
Rohr's Predi(/erm(tgnzin) : Means by which we 
all may work beneficially from our domestic upon 
the public life (by the fidelity of our action, by 
purity of morals, love of peace, and a genuine 
religious sensibility). — Von Gerlach (on ver. 
14): In the atfairs of a city, a state, a society, 
we should look far more after the spiritual than 
after the external means and appliances. — 
WoHLFARTH (on vcrs. 9-15) : The blessing which 
the pious confers even here, and the curse that 
goes forth from the sinner. 

Vers. lG-28. Zeltnkr (on ver. 16) : Zealous as 
tyrants are to acquire and keep their wealth, so 
diligent should the pious mau be in attaining and 
preserving his true honor, which is the fear of 
God and virtue. — [Arnot (on ver. 17) : In every 
act that mercy prompts there are two parties, 
who obtain a benefit. Both gat good, but the 
giver gets the larger share. — J. Edwards (on 
ver. 19): Solomon cannot mean <e/M/*oraZ death, 
for he speaks. of it as a punishment of the wicked, 
wherein the righteous shall certainly be distin- 
guished from them.] — Geier (on ver. 17) : The 
gifts which have been received from God one 
may enjoy with a good conscience, only it must 
be done with a thankful heart in the fear of God, 
and in connection with it the poor may not be 
forgotten. — (On ver. 18) : The hope of the un- 
godly is deceptive. For the object of their labor 
they do not attain, because death suddenly over- 
takes them (Luke xii. 19). Their accumulated 
wealth does not reach the heir of the third gene- 
ration, they leave behind them an evil name, and 
the worm of conscience continually preys upon 
them. — (On ver. 22) : External physical beauty 
without inner beauty of soul is like a whitewashed 
sepulchre, that within is fuJl of dead men's bones, 
Matth. xxiii. 27. — [Flavel (on ver. 20): God 
takes great pleasure in uprightness, and will own 
and honor integrity amidst all the dangers which 
befall it.] — Von Gerlach (on ver. 22): Personal 
beauty is like the mere ornaments of an animal, 
attached ^o it only externally, and often standing 
in sharp contrast with itself; it is that within 
which makes the man a man. — Berleburg Bible. 
(on ver. 23): The righteous desire nothing but 
what is good, and are by God really made par- 
takers of these things which they desire. The 
ungodly, on the contrary, instead of what they 
hoped for, are made partakers of God's wrath. 

Vers. 24-20. Cramer: Almsgiving does not 
impoverish, as many men from lack of love sup- 
pose. — Hasius : Though God may not requite our 
beneficence in every instance by increasing the 
abundance of our possessions, yet He does in this 
that it contributes to our true welfare. — Von 
Gerlach : God as invisible regulator of human 

fortunes stands behind visible causes; Hebe- 
stows His blessing upon the insignificant and in- 
creases it. His curse upon the abundant, and it 
wastes away. Thus every where it is the deeper 
causes that determine advance in wealth or im- 
poverishment. The blessing which we diffuse 
among others turns to our account; he who wa- 
ters the dry land of others thereby brings ad- 
vantage to his own. — [T. Adams (on ver. 24) : The 
communication of this riches doth not impoverish 
the proprietary. The more he spends of his 
stock, the more he hath. But he that will hoard 
the treasure of his charity shall grow poor, 
empty and bankrupt. — Arnot (on ver. 25): To 
be a vessel conveying refreshment from the foun- 
tain-head of grace to a fainting soul in the wil- 
derness is the surest way of keeping youi*' own 
spirit fresh, and your experience ever new. — 
Trapp: Bounty is the most compendious way to 
plenty, neither is getting but giving the best 
thrift. — Chalmers: God in return not only en- 
riches and ministers food to such as have wil- 
lingly parted with their carnal things, but in- 
creases the fruits of their righteousness.] 

Vers. 27-31. Starke (on ver. 27) : The oppor- 
tunity to do good one should not let slip from his 
hands, Gal. vi. 10. If thou art always deferring 
from one time to another, it is easy that nothing 
should come of it — (On ver. 28) : If thou wilt be 
and continue truly prosperous, then seek eagerly 
the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and not the 
perishable riches and pleasures of this world. — 
(On ver. 30) : To win gold and possessions is far 
from being so great wisdom as to win souls and 
deliver them from the way of destruction. — 
[Trapp (on ver. 28) : Riches were never true to 
any that trusted to them. — Lord Bacon (on ver. 
29) : In domestical separations and breaches 
men do promise to themselves quieting of their 
mind and contentment; but still they are deceived 
of their expectation, and it turneth to wind. — J. 
Edwards (on ver. 31): The persecutions of 
God's people, as Ihey are from the disposing 
hand of God, are chastisements for sin. — Bp. 
Jos. Hall (on ver. 31): Behold even the most 
just and holy man upon earth shall be sure of 
his measure of affliction here in the world; how 
much more shall the unconscionable and ungodly 
man be sure to smart for his wickedness, either 
here or hereafter.] — Melanchthon (on ver. 31): 
If even the righteous in this life suffer correction 
and affliction, which nevertheless tend to im- 
provement, how much more surely will they who 
defiantly and fiercely persist in their sinful course 
be punished, if not in this life, then in the life to 
come (Luke xxiii. 31 ; 1 Pet. iv. 18). — Von Ger- 
lach (on ver. 30) : From the righteous there go 
forth life and blessing, as from a tree of life, 
wherefore he also gains ascendency over the souls 
of many, just as the tree of life was the centre 
of Paradise, and from it went forth the prosperity 
of the whole. 


j3) With reference to domestic, civil and public avocations. 
Chap. XII. 

1 He that loveth correction loveth knowledge ; 
but whosoever hateth rebuke is brutish. 

2 The good man obtaineth favor from Jehovah ; 
but the man of wicked devices doth he condemn. 

3 A man shall not be established by wickedness ; 
but the root of the righteous shall not be moved. 

4 A good wife is the crown of her husband, 

but one that causeth shame is as rottenness in his bones. 

5 The thoughts of the righteous are justice ; 
the counsels of the wicked are deceit. 

6 The words of the wicked are a lying in wait for blood, 
but the mouth of the upright delivereth them. 

7 The wicked are overturned and are no more ; 
but the house of the righteous shall stand. 

8 According to his wisdom shall a man be praised; 
but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised. 

9 Better is the lowly that serveth himself, 
than he that boasteth and lacketh bread. 

10 The righteous cai-eth for the life of his beast ; 
but the sympathy of the wicked is cruelty. 

11 He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread : 

but he that followeth after vanity is void of understanding. 

12 The wicked desireth the spoil of evil doers, 
but the root of the righteous is made sure. 

13 In the transgression of the lips is a dangerous snare, 
but the righteous escapeth from trouble. 

14 From the fruit of a man's mouth shall he be satisfied with good; 
and the work of one's hands shall return to him. 

15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, 
but he that hearkeneth to counsel is wise. 

IG The vexation of the fool is at once known ; 
but he that hideth offence is wise. 

17 He that uttereth truth proclaimeth right, 
but the lying tongue deceit. 

18 Tl ere is that talketh idly like the piercings of a sword: 
but tne tongue of the wise is health. 

19 The lip of truth shall be established forever; 
but the lying tongue only for a moment. 

20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, 
but to those who give wholesome counsel is joy. 

21 There shall no evil befiiU the righteous ; 
but the wicked are full of calamity. 

22 Lying lips are an abomination to Jehovah; 
but they that deal truly arc his delight. 

23 A prudent man hideth knowledge: 

but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness. 

24 The hand of the diligent shall rule: 

but the slothful shall be obliged to serve. 

25 If heaviness be in the heart of man it boweth it down ; 
a good word maketh it glad. 

CHAP. XII. 1-28. 


26 The righteous guideth his friend aright ; 

but the way of the wicked leadeth him astray. 

27 Thq idle catcheth not his prey, 

but a precious treasure to a man is diligence. 

28 In the path of righteousness is life : 
but a devious way (leadeth) to death. 

Ter. 11. — 'DIT^. [This plural is cited by Bottcher, § 699, among the examples of that, ideally extended and abstract, 
which vividly and agreeably impresses the spirit, and therefore is fitly represented by a plural ; comp. ^TK?Xi etc.] 

Ver. 17. — n>"IOX TT'i)'' fcomp. DOI3 IT'S', chap. vi. 19) is to be regarded as a relative clause. [bBttchee, how- 
T v: - ■ T • T : - • T 

ever, regards rTi)' here and in vi. 19; xiv.2o; xix. -i, 9; Ps. xii. 6; xxvii.l2,asa Hiphil participle of peculiar form, found 
only in a f^w instances ia connection with roots containing a labial that would closely follow the O which is the ordinary 
prefix of the liiphil participle. The omission of this O gives a form approaching the Kal. Bottcher objects to Ewald's 
description of this as an intransitive Kal participle (^ 169, a), that this verb is not intransitive, etc. See 'd 994, 9 and 
4). -A.] 

Ver. 28. — An additional objection to the ordinary interpretation (see exegetical notes below) is the absence of Mappiq 
in the PI ofH^TlJ. which must nevertheless be regarded as a third pers. suffix referring to npHV, "the way o£ its 

T • : It t: ^ 



1. Vers. 1-3. Three proverbs on the contrast 
between good and evil in general. — Who.soever 
hateth correction is brutish. — "i>*3, brutus, 

~ T 

stupid as a beast ; a peculiarly strong expres- 
sion. Comp. chaps, xxx. 2 ; Ps. xlix. 10; Ixxiii. 

22; xcii. 6. Hitzio prefers to read '^J/'3, which 
alteration, however, appears from the passages 
just cited to be unnecessary. — Ver. 2. The 
good man obtaineth favor from Jehovah. 
For the use of this verb "obtain" (lit. "tn draw 
out") comp. iii. 13; viii. 35. — But the man of 
cricked devices doth he condemn, — /. e., 
Jehovah. Others regard the verb as intransitive, 
e.g., the Vulgate, " impie affit," and now lIiTzro, 
■wlio finds expressed here the idea of "incurring 
penalty." But for this signification of this Hip- 
hil there is wanting the necessary illustration 
and support; and as evidence that the K^'XI 
ri13II3 may be regarded as an accusative without 
the sign HX comp., e. g., x. 11 ; Ps. Ivi. 8; Job 
xxii. 29, etc. — With ver. 3 compare x. 25, 
and with the second clause in particular ver. 12 

2. Vers. 4-11. Eight proverbs on the blessings 
and banes of donie.stic life, and on the cause of 
both. — Ver. 4. A good vsrife is her husband's 
crown. Literally, a woman of power, i. e., 
of moral power and probity, such as mani- 
fests itself in her domestic activity ; comp. xxxi. 
10; Ruth iii. 11. The "crown" or the gar- 
land (ni£0^) is here regarded evidently as an 
emblem of honor and renown, comp. the " crown 
of rejoicing" (arecbavog Kavx'/ofoc), 1 Thcss. ii. 
19; also Prov. xxxi. 23, 28.— But like a rot- 
tenness in his bones is she that causeth 
shame. — Literally a worm-eating, i. e., a ruin 
inwardly undermining and slowly destroying ; 
comp. xiv. 30; Job iii. 16. — Ver. 5. The 
thoughts of the righteous are just; the 
counsels of the -wicked are deceit, — i. e., 
the very thoughts of the pious, much more then 
their words and deeds, aim at simple justice and 
righteousness ; the shrewd counsels, however, by 

which the wicked seek to direct others (ni75nn, 
comp. xi. 14), are in themselves deceitful and un- 
real, and therefore lead solely to evil. — Ver. 6. 
The words of the w^icked are a lying in 
wait for blood, — i. e., they mean malice, they 
are the expression of a bloodthirsty and murder- 
ous disposition; comp. i. 11 sq.; xi. 9. — Altogether 
needlessly Hitzig alters the phrase DTDIX to 
D3 3"1X, " are a snare for them." — The mouth 
of the righteous, however, delivereth 
them, — that is, the rigliteous (comp. xi. G), or it 
may be also the innocent who are threatened by 
the lying in wait of the wicked for blood (comp. 
xi. 9). [So WoRBSW. and MuenscherJ. — Ver. 7. 
The wicked are overturned and are no 
more. — The infin. abs. 'HiiJn here stands em- 

' T 

phatically for the finite verb, and furthermore, 
for this is certainly the simplest assumption, in 
an active or intransitive sense [comp. however in 
general on this idiom Bottcher, | 990, a. — A.] ; 
"the wicked turn about, then are they no more" 
[comp. the proverbial expression "in the turning 
of a band "]. To regard it as a passive (Ewald, 
Elster, Hitzig) [K., M., S.] is unnecessary; 
this gives a stronger meaning than the poet pro- 
bably designed, i. e., "the wicked are over- 
thrown " (or even "turned upside down," Hit- 
zig). The subsequent clause "and are no 
more " would not harmonize with so strong a 
meaning in the antecedent clause, especially if, 
as Hitzig supposes, the verb really designs to 
remind us of the overthrow of Sodom and Go- 
morrah (Gen. xix. 21). With the second clause 
comp. X. 25; Matth. vii. 25. 

Ver. 8. According to his wisdom. — 'i)'? 
[literally " in the face or presence of"], "in pro- 
portion to," "according to the measure of," as in 
.Judges i. 8 and frequently elsewhere. — But he 
that is of a perverse heart shall be de- 
spised, — lit., '* the crooked in heart," ;'. c, the 
perverse man, who does not see things as they 
are, and tlierefore acts perversely and injudi- 
ciously (Hitzig). 

Ver. 9. Better is the lowly that serveth 
himself. — With this use of "lowly, insignifi- 
cant," comp. 1 Sam. xviii. 23. The phrase 



^S n^^l the Targum, Aden Ezra, Bertheau, 
Elster [De W., N., S.], regard as expressing 
this idea, "and he has at the same time a ser- 
vant." But the parallelism demands the mean- 
ing early given in the LXX, Vulgate and Syr. 
versions [and now preferred by K., H., M., W.], 
" 7ninistrani sibi ipsi," serving himself, which is 
here evidently put in contrast with the foolish, 
impoverished pride of birth mentioned in the 
second clause, — whether we retain the Masoretic 
reading, or, with Ziegler, Ewald and Hitzig, 

read 'h n^i'l (participial). —And lacketh 
bread.— Com'p. 2 Sam. iii. 29. AVith the ge- 
neral seniiuuuit compare the passage which un- 
doubtedly fjrew out of this, Ecclesiast. x. 30. — 
Ver. 10. The righteous careth for the life 
of his beast, — ;. c, he knows how his beast 
fe?ls, he concerns himself, he cares for his do- 
me*ic animals, does not allow them to hunger. 
[Arnot: When the pulse of kindness beats strong 
in the heart, the warm stream goes sheer through 
the body of the human family, and retains force 
enough to expatiate among the living creatures 
that lie beyond]. Comp. Ex. xxiii. 9, "Ye know 
the heart of the stranger," from which parallel 
passage it appears that Zieglee, Elster, etc., 
are in the wrong in translating Wp} here by 
" hunger." For examples of this use of the verb 
yT "to know," in the sense of "to concern 
one's self, to care for something," comp. also 
xxvii. 23; Gen. xxxix. 6; Ps. i. 6, etc. — But the 
compassion of the wicked is cruelty, — 
lit., "is cruel." — With the whole proverb comp. 
Ecclesiast. vii. 23.— Ver. 11. But he that fol- 
lovyeth after vanity. — D'P'^. is probably not 
the designation of "vain persons," as in Judg. ix. 
4; 2 Sam. vi. 20 ; comp. 2 Kings iv. 3 (Umbreit, 
Bertheau, etc.), but is to be regarded as neuter, 
i. e., as an abstract, and therefore as meaning 
vain things, vanities, and, as the contrast with 
the first clause shows, specially " idleness, inac- 
tion, laziness." Comp. the LXX, who have here 
rendered the expression by /udraia, but in the 
passage almost literally identical, chap, xxviii. 
19, by (7,\W/)v; in like manner Symmaciius 
(^arvpayiav), Vulgate {olium), etc. 

3. Vers. 12-22. Eleven additional proverbs 
with regard to virtues and faults in civil rela- 
tions, especially .^ins of the tonglie and their op- 
posites. — The w^icked desireth the spoil of 
evil doers, — /. e., one wicked man seeks to 
deprive another of his gains, one of them is 
evermore seeking the injury and ruin of ano- 
ther, so that no peace prevails among them (Is. 
xlviii. 22 ; Ivii. 21) ; they are rather " by the con- 
flict of their selfish strivings ever consuming 
one another." Thus, and doubtless correctly, 
Ujibreit and Elster [to whose view K. gives a 
qualified assent], while Bertheau, following the 
Targum, translates T12f73 by "net," and to illus- 
trate the meaning thus obtained, compares chap, 
viii. 35 [this is also the rendering of the E. V., 
which is followed by W., M., H.; S. renders 
"desireth an evil net," i. e., destruction, being 
so intent upon his evil deeds as to disregard the 
consequenci's ; N. renders in seeming agreement 
with our author " the prey of evil doers," the 

genitive being however possessive and not ob- 
jective, i. e., such prey as evil doers take] ; 
Ewald however and Hitzig regard the passage 
as altogether corrupt, on account of the widely 
divergent text of the ancient versions (LXX, 
Vulg., Syr.), and therefore propose emendations 
(Ewald, "the desire of the wicked is an evil 
net;" Hitzig, "the refuge of the wicked is 
crumbling clay"). It is certainly noteworthy 
that the LXX and Vulgate oifer a double render- 
ing of the verse, first one that widely departs, 
and then one less seriously differing from the 
form of the Masoretic text. — With the second 
clause comp. ver. 3, second clause. For the verb 
\r}] it is probably not needful to supply as sub- 
ject the word "Jehovah," which has been omit- 
ted (Umbreit, Bertheau, Elster [Wordsw. (?)], 
etc.) [nor with Luther, De W., E. V., N. and 
M. to supply an object, — giveth or yieldeth 
(fruit)] ; but, as in the instance in x. 24, to 
change the punctuation to the passive jP\ or 
again, to write jn' (derived from '^P}^, Jirmusfuit, 
comp. the proper name |j"\'N) with the Targum, 
Reiske, Hitzig [Stuart], etc. — Ver. 13. In the 
transgression of the lips is a dangerous 
snare; i. e., he who seeks to ruin others by evil 
speaking is himself overthrown in the same way. 
Bertheau proposes to construe so as to give the 
meaning "is a snare of or for the wicked," which, 
however, is contrary to the analogy of Eccles. ix. 
12. — After this verse also the LXX introduces 
a peculiar addition consisting of two clauses, 
which, however, is probably nothing more than 
an old gloss on the following verse; comp. Hit- 
zig on this passage. 

Ver. 14. From the fruit of a man's mouth 
is he satisfied -with good. — Lit., "from the 
fruit of the mouth of the man doth he satisfy him- 
self with good;" i. e., it is the good fruit which one 
brings forth in wise, intelligent, benevolent dis- 
course, that results in blessing to him. Comp. 
xiii. 2; xviii. 20. In the second clause to good 
words good works are added, and as "returning 
upon him" (comp. Ps. vii. 16) ; they are therefore 
represented as being in a sense the personified 
bearers of reward and blessing. Compare the 
similar thought, referring however to future ret- 
ributions, and therefore somewhat differently 
expressed, Rev. xiv. 13, "their works do follow 
them." — Vers. 15 and Ifi belong together, as 
both refer to the fool and his opposite. — The 
way of a fool is right in his own eyes, — 
i. e., according to his own judgment (comp. iii. 
7), which presents to him his own mode of action 
in a light favorable enough, although others may 
ever so often, and in a way ever so convincing, 
point out its pcrverseness. The exact opposite 
of this is found in the conduct of the wise man, 
the willing listener to wise counsels. Comp. 
xiv. 12; xvi. 2-'); xxi. 2. — The vexation of 
the fool is at once known, — lit., " is known 
even on the same day," i. e., at once, after a short 
time (Vulgate, sta(im). In contrast with this 
passionate breaking out of the offended fool, the 
wise man exercises a prmlent self-control in a 
seemly disregard of the insult put upon him, as 
Saul once did, 1 Sam. x. 27. — Ver. 17. He that 
uttereth truth proclaimeth right, /. c, always 
gives utterance to that which is strictly just; so 

CHAP. XII. 1-28 


especially in judicial examinations as witness. 
This " truth " (nj'.OX) is subjective truth, fidelity 
to one's own convictions [Tviaric, LXX), the op- 
posite to the lies which characterize the false 
witness; comp. xiv. 5, -5. 

Ver. 18. There is that talketh idly, as 
though it were thrusts of a sword, lit., "like 
piercings of a sword,' or "like knife tlirusts" 
(HiTZUi); ?. e., he breaks out with speeches so 
inconsiderate and inappropriate, that tiie persons 
present feel themselves injured as if by sharp 
thrusts. This rude and inconsiderate babbling 
of the fool is here fitly described by the verb 
n£D3, which is equivalent to NCD3, used in Lev. v. 

T T T T 

4; Numb. xxx. 7; Ps. cvi. 33 (of speaking hastily, 
rashly, unadvisedly). — But the tongue of 
the wise is health. — "iMedicine, healing" 
(coinp. iv. 22), forms here an exceedingly appro- 
priate antithesis to the inwardly wounding effect 
of the inconsiderate babbling mentioned before. 
Vers. 19. But the lying tongue only for a 
moment. — Literally, "till I wink again, till I 
complete a wink of the ej^e;'' couip. Jer. xlis. 19 
and 1. 44. This is therefore a detailed poetical 
circumlocution for the idea of a little wliile, an 
instant (Is. liv. 7) : the verb here employed 
(i"Jl"|in) is a denominative derived from J7JT 
a wink. — Deceit is in the heart of those w^ho 
devise evil. — "Deceit, malignity" (cotnp. 
ver. 17, second chxuse) might here be made anti- 
thetic to "joy," because the necessary effect of 
deceit is sorrow and trouble. Therefore this 
noun nolo is not to be transformed to m'^O 

T : • ^ T : 

bitterness (Houbigant), nor to be interpreted by 
"self-deception," or by "joy in evil" (Sc/iai//'ii- 
frcudc) with Umbreit. — But to those who 
give wholesome counsel is joy. — The 
common rendering (as also tliat of Umuukit, El- 
STER, etc.), is "who counsel peace;" comp. the 
old reading of the LXX, ol fiovM/iievoi eip//i'/;v, and 

the ilprjvoTToioL of Matth. v. 9. But Dwt;/ is here 
to be taken in the general sense of " welfare, that 
which is salutary," as, for example, in Ps. xxxiv. 
14; xxxvii. 37. The special signification 
"peace" would not correspond with the " evil" 
of the first clause, which is nowhere equivalent 
to strife, division (not in Judges ix. 23, as Um- 
breit thinks). The "joy" of the well-meaning 
counsellor is furthermore probably to be con- 
ceived of as one to be found in the heart, the in- 
ward cheerfulness and happy contentment of a 
good conscience (as Hitzig rightly maintains 
against Bertheau and others). 

Ver. 21. No evil befalleth the righteous. 
— For this verb (Pual of njXj comp. Ps. 
xci. 10; Ex. xxi. 13. ilX here signifies not 
"sin," but "evil, misfortune, calamity," like the 
parallel term in the second clause, or the Hl'l in 

T T 

the 91st Psalm cited above. — With respect to the 
sentiment, which naturally should be regarded 
as a relative truth, not as unconditionally illus- 
trated in every experience, comp. chap. x. 3 ; xi. 
23 ; xii. 2, 3, etc. — With ver. 22 compare xi. 20. 

It is unnecessary to alter the plural 'bj,' into the 
singular Dbj.' (with the LXX, many MSS., Hit- 
zig, etc.). 


4. Vers. 23-28. Six proverbs which relate to 
the contrast between the wise and the foolish, the 
diligent and the slothful. — With reference to the 
first clause of ver. 23 compare x. 14, 17 ; with the 
second clause, xiii. IG; xv. 2.— Ver. 24. The 
hand of the diligent will rule ; but the 
slothful will be obliged to serve. — With 
tlie first clause compare x. 4; with the second, 
xi. 29. — rfpl), "slothful," is doubtless an adjec- 
tive belonging to the noun T (hand), and not an 
abstract substantive "sloth," standing here for the 
concrete, "the sluggard," as J. U. Michaelis, 
DouERLEiN, Bertheau and Elster suggest.-^ 
"Will be obliged to serve," literally, "will be 
for tribute, for service," i. e., will be forced to 
labor as one owing tribute. — Ver. 25. If trou- 
ble be in the heart of man it boweth it 
down. — The suflix attached to the verb seems 
like that connected with the parallel verb, which, 
moreover, rhymes with this, to refer to the noun 
"heart," and this as a synonym with Ui2i 
"soul," has here the force of a feminine. 
[BoTTCHER, I 877, e, cites this among the exam- 
ples of tlie use of the fem. singular as a neuter 
with reference to objects named before but con- 
ceived of as neuter. See also Green, § 197, b — 
A.] In this connection it is indeed remarkable 
that nJXT (trouble), also contrai-y to its natural 
gender, appears here construed as a masculine. 
Hence the varying views of many recent exposi- 
tors, e. ^f., that of U.MBREiT and Elster; "if 
trouble be in a man's heart, let him repress it 
(the sorrow) ;" or that of Hitzig, who refers the 
suffixes of both these verbs to the noun "hand" 
of the verse preceding, and accordingly renders 
(at the same time in a peculiar way reproducing 
the rhyme) : 

" Is sorrow in the man's heart, he bends it («. e., 

the hand, down). 
But if gladness, he extends it." 
[Hitzig's rhyme is made with the verbs senkef 
and schirenket, which are rather violent equiva- 
lents to the Hebrew terms, but are perhaps fairly 
matched by hends and extends, or abases and 
raises. — A.] In favor of the rendering which we 
prefer are the old versions, and among recent ex- 

EwALD, Bertheau. 

Ver. 26. The righteous guideth his 
friend aright.— The verb "in\ Hiphil of ^^'\^\ 
(which is equivalent to "I'P), means "to set right, 
to guide to the right way, odr/yelv ;" ]l'}'0 is then 
equivalent to Jt?^, friend, companion, as in Gen. 
xxvi. 26; Judges xiv. 20; xv. 6.. [So Gesen., 
Rod., Fuerst, Ewald, Bertheau, K., S., M. 
and W.] — Others, especially Luther, M. Geier, 
etc., following the Chaldee version, regard "ip' 
as an adjective followed by the object of compari- 
son : "better than his friend is (or fares) the 
righteous man." [So the E. V., which is followed 
by NoYEs]. Others still, like Dathe, J. I). Mi- 
chaelis, ZiEOLERand Hitzig (the latter changing 
the verb to IH'), read IPiyiO, " his pasture," and 

\ T •• : • * 

so reach the meaning "the righteous looketh af- 
ter his pasture," i. e., his path in life. It seems, 
however, altogether needless to depart from the 
above explanation, which is grammatically ad- 



missible, and gives a meaning which agrees well 
witli that of the secoml cluuse — But the way 
of the wicked leadeth them astray; tliem, 
i. e., the wickt'd. The conslruution is the same 
as in chap. xi. 0, and probably also xii. (3. 

Ver. 27. The slothful catcheth not his 
prey. — " Tlie slothful," properljr here again an 
adjective, "idle"' hand, expresses the idea of 
slot)), and then, as an abstract for the concrete, 
stands for "the sluggard, the slothful." ^^n 
then, an arra^ ?iey6/j.£vov in the Old Testament, is 
explained by the Rabbins, following the Aramean 
(Dan. iii. 27), by "to singe, to roast;" therefore 
Bertheau, e.g., still translates "the slothful 
roasteth not his prey," and then supplies the 
idea, "because he is too lazy to catch it." [M. 
adopts this explanation, and S. doubtfully.] 
Others, more simply, and in conformity with the 
old versions, render "the idle man catcheth not 
his game " [so K., H., and N.], for which signifi- 
cation of hunting, catching, seizing, Hitzig cites 
lexical analogies from the Arabic. [Fuerst, 
criticising this interpretation, and defending the 
other, urges 1) that not to catch game is no sure 
sign of laziness, and 2) "his prey" must be .al- 
ready in hand — A.] — But a precious treasure 
to a man is diligence. — To reach this meaning 
it is necessary either to take ]'-lin exceptionally 
in the abstract sense of diligence, or with C. B. 
MiCHAELis and Hitzig to read as an infinitive 
Vnn, "to bestir one's self, to show one's self 
diligent." — Others, like Kohler, Umbreit, 
Elster, etc., resort to a partial transposition of 
the words, yielding the meaning " but precious 
treasure belongeth to the diligent man" — an al- 
teration which is favored in advance by the Sy- 
riac version, and to some extent also by the 

Ver. 28. But a devious way (leadeth) to 
death. — This isdoubtless the interpretation to be 
given with Hitzig to this clause : for in Judges v. 
6: Is. Iviii. 12, nUTIJ in fact signifies (in contrast 
with nii<) a crooked winding by-path, and the 
modification of '7N to '7X seems the more justifia- 
ble in proportion as the combination on which 
the ordinary rendering rests is otherwise un- 
known (niD-"7X as equivalent to niD-xS) ; "and 
the way of its path is not-death " (which is to 
be understood as "immortality," Ewald, Um- 
breit, Elster [K., E. V., N., S., M.], etc). 
Furthermore, the form of expression C^^T before 
HTHJ) indicates plainly that to the second of 
the terms employed not its ordinary sense, but a 
quite peculiar signification, a quasi adjective im- 
port is to be given. [Hodgson and Holden ex- 
press a decided preference for this view]. — With 
the general sentiment of the verse compare x. 2 ; 
xi. 19. 


The contrasts between diligence and indolence, 
wisdom and folly, which present themselves as 
the strongest characteristics of the second and 
fourth of the groups of verses found in this 
chapter-, lead us to refer the proverbs of these 
groups mainly to private or domestic life,— while 

the predominating reference of the third main 
group (vers. 12-22) to sins of the tongue or lipa, 
leads us to regard social or civil life as the special 
department here chiefly contemplated. Still this 
classification is after all only a general one, and 
proverbs of a more general moral tendency and 
bearing, like those contained in the introductory 
group (vers. 1-3) are interspersed through each 
of the three large groups (e. g. in vers. 6, 6, 12, 
21, 26, 28): these therefore stiovv the impossi- 
bility of carrying through a division of the con- 
tents of the chapter according to definite and 
clearly distinct categories. 

Moral truths to which an emphatic prominence 
is given are found in the very first verse, on which 
Ujibreit pertinently remsiiks, "The thought 
seems weak, and to a spirit practised in reflec- 
tion hardly worth recording, yet on its truth 
rests the possibility of a spiritual progress in 
the human race, its development to a higher 
humanity ; one might even say, the very condi- 
tions of history lie in that proverb." Again we 
find them in ver. 10, a proverb which sets forth 
that tender care for animals as man's fellow- 
creatures, which impresses itself on so many 
other passages of the Old Testament, e. g. Ex. 
XX. 11; xxii. 29, 30; Lev. xxii. 27; Deut. xxii. 
fi sq. ; XXV. 4 : Ps. xxxvi. 6 ; civ. 27 ; cxlv. 15 sq.; 
cxlvii. 9; Job xxxviii. 39 sq. ; xxxix. 5 sq. ; 
Jonah iv. 11, etc.* 

AVe find like important truths in ver. 13, as 
also in general in all the proverbs that relate to 
the right use of the lips and tongue (compare 
besides vers. 14, 10-19,22, 25); so also in the 
commendation of a willingness to receive good 
counsel, ver. 15, with which we may appropri- 
ately compare Theogms, Gnom., V., 221-225 
(see the passage in Umbreit, p. 158) ; — and 
again in the admonition to a wise self-command 
and presence of mind under experience of injury, 
ver. 16, with which should be compared admo- 
nitions of the New Testament against persistent 
anger and heat of passion, such as Rom. xii. 19; 
Eph. iv. 28, 31 ; James i. 19, 20, etc. — It has 
already been made evident that the concluding 
verse of the chapter (ver. 28, 2d clause) unlike 
chapter xi. 7, probably contains no hint of a 
hope of immortality. 


Homily on the entire chapter. On the true 
wisdom of the children of God, as it ought to 
appear 1) in the home, under the forms of good 
discipline, diligence and contentment ; 2) in the 
state or in the intercourse of citizens, under the 
forms of truthfulness, justice, and unfeigned 
benevolence (ver. 12-22) ; 3) in the Church or in 
the religious life, as a progressive knowledge of 
God, a diligent devotion to prayer and striving 
after eternal life (vers. 23-28). — Comp. Stocker: 
— On true discipline: 1) its genei-al utility (vers. 
1-8) ; 2) the blessing on those who receive dis- 
cipline, and the curse on those who hate and 
despise it (vers. 9-16); 3) comprehensive repeti- 
tion of what has been taught concerning the 
salutariness of discipline (vers. 17-28). — Starke: 
— On the injurious nature of ungodliness and 

* Comp. ZiicKLER, Theologia Naluralis, Entwurf einer sys- 
tematisc/ien JS'aturphilosophie, etc., I., pj). 639 sq. 

CHAr. XII. 1-28. 


the utility of piety; 1) in general (vers. 1-3); 
2) in particular, a) in tlic marriage relation 
(ver. 4) ; Lj in common life (vers. 6-bj ; c) in tLie 
care of cattle and in agriculture (9-11); d) in 
tiie use of iho tongue (12-23 ; e) in attention to 
one's calling (2-1-28). — Calmer Ilandbuch: — The 
heart, the action and the speech of the fool and 
the wise man, — or, of the life that is to be found 
in the way of righteousness, and the ruin that 
is to be found in the way of ungodliness. 

Vers. 1-3. Gkieh: — No one is so perfect that 
he might not sometimes fail, and consequently 
need a chastisement not only on the part of God, 
but also on the part of men. — (On ver. 3): He 
who by faith and love is rooted in God (Eph. iii. 
17) will not possibly ever be rooted up by any- 
thing ; Ps. Ixxiii. 25 ; .John x. 28. — Starke : — It 
is better to be with true sympatliy chastised by 
a just man, than to be deceitfully praised. — 
Berleburtf Bible: — He who sutfers himself to be 
guided comes constantly nearer to wisdom, i. e. 
to Christ, and for such a one His fellowship with 
all its blessedness stands open. — Vox Gerlacii 
(on ver. 1): — All that raises man above the brute 
is secured to him by training, by the wholesome 
discipline of his parents and teachers. — (On 
ver. 3) : The ungodly has no ground in which he 
is rooted, no stability in assaults from without, 
while the righteous man is rooted in the eternal 
nature of the Creator Himself. Hence the 
righteous man is a tree by a river's side, a 
house on a rock, — the ungodly, however, is a 
fleeting storm-cloud, a tree in a dry land, a 
house built on the sand, and even chaff that the 
wind driveth away, Ps. i. 3 sq.; Isa. xliv. 4, etc. 
— [Arnot (on ver. 1) : — The fool casts away the 
precious because it is unpalatable, and the wise 
man accepts the unpalatable because it is pre- 
cious. Nature hates reproof; let grace take the 
bitter potion and thrust it down nature's throat, 
for the sake of its healing power. — A. Fuller 
(on ver. 1): — He, and he only, that loves the 
means loves the end. The means of knowledge 
are "instruction" in what is right, and "re- 
proof" for what is wrong. He who is an enemy 
to either of these means is an enemy to the end. 
— Bridges (on ver. 3): — Firm and unshaken is 
the condition of the righteous. Their leaves may 
wither in the blast. Their branches may tremble 
in the fury of the tempest. But their root — the 
true principle of life — shall not be tiioved]. 

Vers. 4-11. Geier (on ver. 4): — By vicious 
conduct a woman destroys her husband as it 
were with subtle poison, but even then harms 
herself the most. — Zeltner (on ver. 4): — He 
who will enter into the marriage relation should 
begin with God, with hearty prayer, sound re- 
flection, and devout purposes, lest he be com- 
pelled afterward bitterly to bewail his folly, 
Tob. viii. 4 sq. — (On ver. 9) : An honorable life 
in narrow circumstances is much better and 
more peaceful, and besides not subject to so 
many temptations, as when one lives in ever so 
high a position in the view of the world. To 
make a great figure and to aim at being great is 
the ruin of many a man, Tob. iv. 14 ; Ecclesiast. 
iii. 19, 30. — Wiirtemberff Bible (on ver. 10): — The 
brute has no one that can do him good but man ; 
therefore treat it kindly, with reason and mode- 
ration. — [Trapp (on ver. 5): — If good thoughts 

look into a wicked heart, they stay not there, as 
those that like not their lodging. — (On ver. 7): 
There is a council in heaven will dash the 
mould of all contrary counsels upon earth. — 
(On ver. 11): Sin brought in sweat (Gen. iii. 19), 
and now not to sweat increaseth sin. — Lord 
Bacon (on ver. 10) : — The tender mercies of the 
wicked are when base and guilty men are spared 
that should be stricken with the sword of justice. 
Pity of this sort is more cruel than cruelty 
itself. For cruelty is exercised upon indivi- 
duals, but this pity, by granting impunity, arms 
and sends forth against innocent men the whole 
army of evil-doers. — Chalmers (on ver. 10): — • 
The lesson is not the circulation of benevolence 
within the limits of one species. It is the trans- 
mission of it from one species to another. Tiie 
first is but the charity of a world. The second 
is the charity of a universe]. 

Vers. 12-22. Melanchthon: — In everything 
are we exhorted to good, and to striving after 
truth, in the knowledge of God, in science and 
arts, in all honorable occupations and compacts; 
and because truthfulness belongs to the most 
glorious and eminent virtues, theiefore the vice 
opposed to it is condemned in strong language, 
and pronounced (ver. 22) an ofi'ence and abomi- 
nation in the sight of God. — Osianuek: — We 
use the gift of speech rightly when we employ 
it to God's glory and to our neighbor's benefit. — ■ 
Zeltner: — As one has here used his tongue, 
whether for good or evil, he will hereafter be 
recompensed. Truth is a daughter of righteous- 
ness ; apply thyself diligently to this, and thou 
hast the true witness in thyself that thou art of 
the truth and a child of God (1 John iii. 18, 19). 
Fidelity and veracity have indeed in the world, 
whose watchword is only hatred, a poor reward; 
but so much the more precious are they in the 
sight of God (Ps. XV. 1, 2). — [Arnot (on ver. 13) : 
When a man is not true, the great labor of his 
life must be to make himself appear true; but if 
a man be true, he need not concern himself about 
appearances. — Trapp (on ver. 20) : — Such coun- 
sellors shall have peace for peace: peace of 
conscience for peace of country]. — On ver. 20, 
TiscriER (in Zimmerman's " Sonntaffs/eier," 1835, 
No. 41) : — Every one can become acquainted with 
himself from his social intercourse. — [South (on 
ver. 22): — A lie is a thing absolutely and intrin- 
sically evil: it is an act of injustice, and a vio- 
lation of our neighbor's right. The vileness of 
its nature is equalled by the malignity of its 
effects ; it first brought sin into the world, and is 
since the cause of all those miseries and calami- 
ties that disturb it; it tends utterly to dissolve 
and overthrow society, which is the greatest 
temporal blessing and support of mankind ; it 
has a strange and peculiar efficacy, above all 
other sins, to indispose the heart to religion. It 
is as dreadful in its punishments as it has been 
pernicious in its effects]. 

Vers. 23-28. Hasius : — The ordinary modes 
of acquisition are always the safest and best. 
Him wlio loves crooked ways and devices we 
never find prospering; but those who walk in 
w.ays of innocence and justice, cannot become 
unsuccessful. — Osiaxder : — Follow thy calling 
in the fear of God and with diligence, and thy 
possessions will be with God's blessing richly 



multipliod. — Starke: — lie who squanders time, 
shuns toil and his pouml in a napkin, is 
unwoi-tliy to dwell on earth (Luke xix. 20, 21). — • 
AVoHLFARTH (on ver. 25) : — The friendlij word. 
Where we can help by actual deeds, such real 
help is by all means better than mere consola- 
tion in words. If however the means for such 
aid are wanting to us, if the evil is of such a 
sort that no human help whatever is possible, 
theu it is a double duty to cheer the depressed 

I with friendly words; yes, consolation is thea 
often in itself helj) because it leads to God, the 
true helper in all need! — [Trait (on ver. 27): — 
Jabal and Jubal, diligence and complacence, 
good husbandry and well contenting sufficiency, 
dwell usually together. — Chalmers (on ver. 28): 
— The deeds of the hand have a reflex influence 
on the state of the heart. There is life in spi- 
ritual-mindedness; and it serves to aliment this 
life to walk in the way of obedience]. 

7) With reference to the use of temporal good, and of the word of God as the highest good. 

Chap. XIII. 

1 A wise son hearkeneth to his father's correction, 
but a scorner to no rebuke. 

2 By the fruit of one's mouth doth he enjoy good, 
but the delight of the ungodly is violence. 

3 He that guardeth his mouth keepeth his life, 
he that openeth Avide his lips shall be destroyed. 

4 The sluggard desireth, but without the satisfying of his desire, 
but the desire of the diligent is abundantly satisfied. 

5 Deceit the righteous hateth, 

but the ungodly acteth basely and shamefully. 

6 Righteousness protecteth an upright walk, 
but wickedness plungeth into sin. 

7 One maketh himself rich and hath nothing, 
another professeth to be poor yet hath great riches. 

8 A ransom for a man's life are his riches, 
but the poor heedeth no threatening. 

9 The light of the righteous rejoiceth, 
but the lamp of the wicked goeth out. 

10 By pride cometh only contention, 

but wisdom is with those who receive counsel. 

11 Gain through fraud vanisheth away, 

but he that gathereth by labor increaseth it (his gain). 

12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, 
but desire accomplished is a tree of life. 

13 Whosoever despiseth the word is bound to it, 
he that feareth the commandment is rewarded. 

14 The instruction of the wise man is a, fountain of life 
to escape the snares of death. 

15 Kindly wisdom ensureth favor, 
the way of the ungodly is desolate. 

16 The prudent man doeth all things with understanding, 
but a fool spreadeth abroad folly. 

17 A bad messenger falleth into trouble, 
but a faithful messenger is health. 

18 Poverty and shame (to him) that refuseth correction ; 
he that regardeth reproof is honored. 

19 Quickened desire is sweet to the soul, 

and it is abomination to fools to depart from evil. 

20 Walk with wise men and become wise! 

but whoso delighteth in fools becometh base. 

CIIAr. XIII. 1-25. 


21 Evil pursueth sinners, 

but to the righteous God repayeth good. 

22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children, 
and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. 

23 The poor man's new land (yieldeth) much food, 
but many a one is destroyed by iniquity. 

24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son, 
but whoso loveth him seeketh correction. 

25 The upri,o-ht eateth to the satisfying of his hunger, 
but the belly of the wicked shall want. 


Ver 2 [the literaX rendering is "the soul of the wicked {shaU feed iipon) violence." Substantially this rendering ia 
given by tiieE V. by H., N., S . and M. Zockler [see excp;. notes] re-ards this verse as- conveying tlie two ideas tliat 
violence is tlie wicked man"s deliglit, and llial it is liis recompense. He feeds on it wliilo lie lives, and dies by it. Con- 
ceiving the former to be the more prominent idea here he gives to ^3} a secondary and figurative meaning,— the long- 
inn the delinht. We think that he has lost rather than gained by this refining.— A.] , ,, , 

Ver. 4:. According to the Masoretic pnnctuatiou tlio clause would be literally rendered "His soul— the sluggards— 
longeth [strongly desirethj, and there is nothing," [" His appetite." Z.] The suffix in ID'S J would then stand pleonasti- 
cally before the appended genitive ^^p [as e. g. Num. xxiv. 3; Deut. xxxii. 43] ; J^NT^ would however be introduced as 
a parenthesis between the predicate and the subject, and would express substantially the idpa "without satisfaction, 
without finding anything." It appears simpler and less lurced, however, to change the punctuation as HuziG does, thus : 
bi'y' it:^£3J I'f^l in-IXnO, in which case tyiJJ receives the meaning by metonymy "object of desire " (comp. Ps. 
xxxv; 25; isa. Iviii. 19), and the meaning of the whole clause is as in our version. 

Ver. 5. [^■'X3\ which Z. regards as equivalent to t:?■'3^ Bott. (see g 1147, C. h.) regards aa substituted for it by a 
n.fe interchange of weak and kindred consonants. The verbs are nearly related, ^^:^ being used of that which is 
o ieuslve to tho sense of smell, tyn of that which changes color, by turning pale or otherwise. The one describes mis- 
conduct as offensive, the other as shameful. — A.] 

Ver. 9. The verb 'n>,'T' seems to form a designed accord with nrDCI^' ; comp. xii. 25. 

Ver. 11. [The different renderings grow partly out of different conceptions of the meaning of the noun 127^ and 

partly from different syntactical constructions. b^H, originally " breath," then " nothingness " or " vanity," is by most 

Interpreters taken in some metaphorical sense. The rendering of the E. V., followed by H , is ambiguous, " by or through 
vanity" M. and St. render "without effort ;" Fn erst agrees wiih Z. in giving it an ethical meaning,— that which is 
morally nothing, nothing right, nothing good. It so desciib.-s fraud and iniquity. Oese.v., Noyes, etc., retain the primi- 
tive meaning, and treat the Vq as comparative. See Exeg. Notes.— A.] 

Ver. 15. [The rendering of 31£3-S3ti' in the E. V., is again ambiguous: "good Understanding." H., N., S., M. agree 
substantially with Z., interpreting the phrase as descriptive of prudence or discretion joined with kindness. Others, e. g. 
FUERST give it, with less probability, the passive meaning of '-consideration" or "reputation."— A.] 

Ver. 16. Instead of -^3 we should read ^j, in accordance with the correct rendering of the Vulg.: Astutus omnia 
anit cum cnnsilio. [The English commentators without exception, so far as we know, follow the E. V. and the LXX, trans- 
late according to the pointing of the Mas. text: ttos TravoOpyos; "every wise nian,"ete. Z.'s rendering is certainly more 
forcible, and justiiies the vowel change.— A.] ^t^i. .■ -,,-,, t^„^^„ 

Ver. 19. [The weight of authority has been decidedly against the authors conception of the poetic n^rij. UESEif. 

and FuERST are against him, as well as the commentators cited. Kamph. may be added to those who agree with Z. in 
remlerinx- this Niph. participle '• become" as meaning '-come iuto being," '■ developed," while the other conception is that 
it .le-^rriires what has been "completed, accomplished." Comp. ver. 12, 6, " desire that hath come," which is generally 

nuilerstooa to ue saiisiaciiou. t» o canuoi mmiv luai, luo pi^i.c-. ^^ .^,..v,.^o -v. v.^>. .......v...... .-• -^ •^, ~. ~~—„ 

suisficd The 2d clause is by H. regarded as an inference, " therefore," elc; E. V , N , S., M. regard it as an antithesis— 
notwithstanding their certain disappointment fools cling to evil. K. shapes the antithesis ilitferently : "a new desire is 
pleasant to the soul, but if it be evil fools abhor to renounce it." Z.'s view a)ipears in the not.s.— A.] 

Ver. 20. [For the imper. use of the inf. abs. see Green ^ 208, 2 and grammars generally. J^Tl'^ Niph. Imperf., more 
distinct than j;"T" which might be a neuter Kal. Bott. 1 11-47, A.— A.] • 

partly from the difficulties, often utterly insu- 
perable, which meet the attempts to point out 
real divisions at the beginning and end of the 
several alleged groups of verses. It appears 
further from the fact that here again it is neces- 
sary to stamp as spurious one verse at least (xiii. 
2-3), a violent critical expedient to secure the sym- 
metrical relation of groups that is demanded. 
Comp. above, Exeget. notes on chap, x., No. 1. 

With respect to the groups of verses that do 
develop themselves with satisfactory distinct- 
ness, and in general with reference to the order 
and progress of thought in the chapter before 
us, see the Doctrinal and Ethical notes. 


1. With chap, xiii Hitzig would have a new 
section commence, extending to chap. xv. 32, 
anu consisting of three subdivisions of symme- 
trical structure. The first of these subdivisions 
would be chap, xiii., consisting of four groups 
of six verses each; the second, chap, xiv., five 
groups of seven verses each; the third, chap, 
XV., four groups of eight verses each — altogether 
91 verses, precisely the same number as the 
preceding Section (chaps, x.-xii.) contained. — 
How arbitrary these assumptions are appears 



2. Vers. 1-3. Three introiluctoiy proverbs, 
general in their import. — A wise son heark- 
eneth to his father's correction. — In tliis 
first cl.iase we must supply " hearkeueth " from 
the second as predicate. The conception of 
others, e.g. J. D. Micuaelis, Bertheau, eic: A 
wise son is his father's correction, i. e. the object 
of his correction, — is less natural on account of iis 
harsliness. Parallel to the milder expression 
" instruction, correction " ("ID'O) in clause a, 
we have in b the stronger term "rebuke" 
(m^U, as in xvii. 10). — No re-buke, no threaten- 
ing, no earnest enforcement of law makes any 
impression on the " scorner " (i. 22; ix. 7), the 
heedless r«viler of religiop, who has long ago 
thrown aside all childlike piety, and reverence 
for the holy. With ver. 2. clause «, comp. xii. 
14; with b comp. x. 6.— The delight of the 
ungodly is violence, i. e. the eager desire 
(lyDJ) of maliciously disposed sinners is for 
violence (DOH), which they wish to exercise 
upon others, and which therefore in turn recom- 
penses them. " Violence," therefore, stands 
here with a twofold meaning [active and pas- 
sive] as in chap. x. G. [See Critical Notes]. — 
Shall ba destroyed. — rtnino, ruinn, "destruc- 
tion," just as in x. 14. — ["Take heed that thy 
tongue cut not thy throat;" an Arabic proverb 
quoted by Trapp from Scaliger, Arab. Prov. 
i. 75.— A.] 

3. Vers. 4-12. Nine proverbs relating mainly 
to the worth and right use of wealth. — The 
sluggard desireth, but v/ithout the satis- 
fying of his desire. — [See Critical Notes]. — 
But the desire of the diligent is abundant- 
ly satisiied, literally, "is made fai," comp. xi. 
25. — Ver. 5. Deceit the righteous hateth. — 
*^p.r^~"^?l appears to be not " word of falsehood," 
deceitful language (Umbreit, Bertheau), but a 
designation of evei-ything falling under the cate- 
gory of the deceitful ("13T being therefore equiv- 
alent to "payua) ; comp. Ps. xli. 9; Isa. xliv. 4 ; 
it means therefore lies and frauds, deceit. — But 
the ungodly acteth basely and shamefully. 
[See Critical Notes]. i^^'NT, lit., "maketh of- 
fensive, stinking," stands here as equivalent to 
B'"'^'', " acteth basely, or causeth shame ;" comp. 
chap. xix. 26. The Hiphil form Ti)n_;, which is 
found also in the parallel passage, here has an 
active meaning, "acteth shamefully," while in 
Isa. liv. 4 it stands as passive : couieth to shame, 
or is put to shame. [So the E. V., H., N., and 
M.. while S., K., etc., give the causative render- 

Ver. G Righteousness protecteth an up- 
right walk, lit., "innocence of way," an ab- 
stract for the concrete, and therefore equiva- 
lent to "such as walk uprightly" (comp. x. 29). 
But wickedness plungeth into sin. — Wick- 
edness (nj,'iy")), literally, "perverse, malicious 
disposition" describes that evil state of the heart 
which necessarily leads to sinful action (nXDn). 
The verb, which is here used in its natural mean- 
ing, "overturn, plunge into something," has tlie 
end of its action, sin, connected with it witliout a 

preposition (comp. xix. 13). The old versions, 
and among modern expositors Bertheau, 
[Fuerst, H., N., M., S.], take the object as an 
abstract for the concrete, and thorefore translate 
" wickedness overthroweth sinners," by which 
rendering a more exact parallelism between a 
and b, it is true, is secured. 

Ver. 7. One maketh himself rich, and 
hath nothing at ail. — Comp. xii. 9, a maxim, 
which, like the one before us, is aimed at foolish 
pride of birth and empty love of display on the 
part of men without means. The "boasting one's 
self" there corresponds with the "representing 
one's self rich " here. Comp. also the similar 
proverb of the Arabs, in Meidanx, III. 429. 
[The second clause is differently understood; 
W. interprets it as referring to the "being rich 
in good works, and sacrificing all worldly things 
for God and His truth." So Holuen ; while 
Trapp, Bridges, N., S. and M. regard the clause 
as referring to the deceitful concealment of 
riches. The parallelism requires this view. — A.] 
Ver. 8. A ransom for a man's life are his 
riches, i. e. the rich man can and under certain 
circumstances, as e. g. before a court, or when 
taken captive by robbers or in war, must employ 
his wealth for his ransom. — But the poor 
heedeth no threatening, i. e. no warning or 
tiireatening however sharp ("rebuke" as in 
ver. 1) will be able to force anything from him 
who has nothing: the poor is deaf to every 
threat that aims at the diminution of his posses- 
sions, for "where there is nothing, there the 
Emperor has lost his rights." The spirit of this 
maxim, in itself morally indiiferent, seems like 
that of the similar proverb, chap. x. 15, to be 
directed to the encouragement of industry, and 
of some earthly acquisitions though they be but 
moderate. Elster is certainly in the wrong, 
in holding that the proverb depicts, not without 
a shade of irony, "the advantages as well of 
great wealth as of great poverty." Against 
various other conceptions of the verse, especially 
of clause b, comp. Bertheau in loco. [Holden 
construes interrogatively: "Doth not the poor," 
etc , understanding it of the helplessness of the 
poor ; N. and M. understand it of the safety of 
the poor in his poverty ; W. of his light-hearted 
independence ; S. of the viciously or heedlessly 
poor, whom nothing can arouse to virtuous in- 
dustry. — A.] 

Ver. 9. The light of the righteous burn- 
eth joyously. — The verb is lierc intransitive: 
"is joyous, i. e. burns brightly, with vigorous 
blaze." Hitzig rightly directs attention to the 
fact that the same root (not:^) in Arabic signifies 
to "laugh, or sport." — But the lamp of the 
wicked goeth out. The "lamp" of the wicked 
(TJ) does not seem to be emphatically contrasted 
as a dim night lamp with the bright light of the 
righteous, but is probably a simple synonym of 
")1X determined by the parallelism; comp. Job 
xviii. 5, 6 ; xxi. 17 : xxii. 28 : xxix. 3. 

Ver. 10. By pride cometh only conten- 
tion. — "Only" (p^) although in the Hebrew put 
first in the clause, belongs nevertheless to the 
subject (Hi'O), and not to the "by pride" |nT3 
[as in E. V., and Stuart] ; as though the mean- 

CHAP. XIII. 1-25. 


ing were, only by pride (or, only in excitement, 
ebullition of passion, Umbkeit) dues one begin 
strife. Couip. rather as an example of this pre- 
fixing of "only' (p"}), Ps. xxxii. G [where 
HuPFELD and others do not admit this explana- 
tion "only to him," etc. J ; and for similar hyper- 
bata with DJ and 1]X oomp. Prov. xix. 2 ; xx. 11 ; 

Isa. xxxiv. 14. [N. and M. agree with our 
author. H. takes pi as a noun, "ignorance" 

with pride, etc. But if it be objected to the 
simple and obvious rendering of the words in 
their Hebrew order, that pride is not the only 
or chief cause of contention, it may no less be 
objected that contention is not the only or chief 
result of pride. Why may not the proverb be 
interpreted as comparing two dispositions, the 
proud, self-sufficient spirit, of clause a, and the 
modest inclination to consult and consider others, 
of clause b? Only by the former of these two 
is contention produced. — .\.] — But wisdom is 
with those who receive counsel. — Oomp. 
xii. 15, b. Instead of D'1.'>1J, "the well advised, 
those who hearken to counsel," Hitzig proposes 
to read D'J.^-Ui*, the " modest." An unnecessary 
change to correspond with xi. 2. 

Ver. 11. Gain through fraud vanisheth 

away.— [See Critical Notes]. The '?.;np pTl 
is used to describe "gain coming from nothing- 
ness, from the unreal," i. e. secured in an un- 
substantial, inconsiderate, fraudulent way (Ew- 
ALu, Luther, etc.). Or (with Ziegler, Doder- 

LEiN, Elster, Hitzig) let the pointing be 73ri:p 
(Pual part.); i. e. a hastily, fraudulently ac- 
quired wealth, substantia J'estinata, Vulg. — To 

regard /|3no as a comparative, "sooner than a 
breath" (Umbreit, Noyes and others), has this 
against it, — that a "vanishing away," a "dimi- 
nution " cannot be well predicated of a 1^\}, a 
nothing, a mere phantom, but may be naturally of 
a possession gained in an unsubstantial or un- 
worthy manner. — But he that gathereth by 

labor increaseth it. — T"7J7 is either "handful 
after handful" (Ewald, Bertheau, Elster, 
etc.), or, "according to his dhWhy," pro porlione 
s. mensura sua (Hitzig). In both cases it de- 
scribes the gradual and progressive accumulation 
of wealth, resulting from diligence and exertion, 
and so is in significant contrast with the impa- 
tient dishonesty of tiie preceding clause. 

Ver. 12. Hope deferred maketh the heart 
sick; comp. x. 28. The predicate is not a sub- 
stantive, "sickness of heart" (Umbreit), but a 
Hiph. partic. — For the figure of the " tree of 
life'' in clause b comp. xi. 30. ["Desire that 
hath come," (Kal part.) is by common consent 
of lexicographers and commentators desire ac- 
complished. This should be remembered in the 
exposition of ver. 19 a. — A.] 

4. Vers. 13-17. Five proverbs relating to the 
value of the divine word as the hifihcst good, 
and exhorting to obedience to it. — -Whosoever 
despiseth the w^ord is in bonds to it, /. e. 
the word or the law of God (comp. for this 
absolute use of "the term "word" ("^2"^) e. g., 

xvi. 20). The word of divine revelation is here, 
as it were, personified as a real superhuman 
power, whose service one cannot escape, and in 
default of this he comes in bondage to it i. e. 
loses his liberty. [The verb according to this 
rendering describes mortgages, bonds and other 
such legal obligations; '-wird vnpjandet," Z. — 
A.] Thus SciniLTENS, Ewald. Elster correctly 
render, while many others, e. g. Umbreit, Ber- 
theau, [K., E. v., N., S., M.] explain "for 
him is destruction provided, he shall be de- 
stroyed." Hitzig, however, altogether arbitra- 
rily takes the "word" of clause a in the sense 
of "command," and the "command" (nii'D) of 
clause h in the sense of " prohibition," and ac- 
cordingly translates "whosoever despiseth the 
command is seized by it, and whoso avoideth 
(heedeth) the prohibition is rewarded " (?j. For 
the phrase "he is requited, to him is requiial," 
comp. xi. 31. 

Ver. 14. The instruction of the w^ise man 
is a fountain of life. — t'omp. x. 11, wliere 
the "mouth of the rigiitcous," and xiv. 27, 
where the fear of God is described' by this 
figure. In the latter passage the 2d clause of 
our verse appears again. " Snares of death " an 
established formula for the description of mortal 
perils ; comp. Ps. xviii. 5 ; Prov. xxi. 6, and 
also the Latin laquei mortis. HoR. Od. III. 24, 8. 

Ver. 15. Kindly w^isdom produceth fa- 
vor. — Comp. iii. 4, where however the 2^Q~/2\^_ 
expresses a somewhat difi'erent idea, viz., pas- 
."ively, "good reputation." [See Critical Notes]. 
— The way of the ungodly is desolate. — 
liTX, pcrennis, elsewhere descriptive of a brook 
or river that flows inexhaustibly, seems here to 
denote either a "standing bog" (J. D. Mi- 
cuaelis, Umbreit), or, which is perhaps more 
natural, it belongs as an adjective to the noun 
" way" C^n!!)' ^°^ characterizes the way of trans- 
gressors as " ever trodden," i. e. altogether hard, 
solid, and therefore desolate and unfruitful 
(Bertheau, Ewald, Elster, etc.). [As compared 
with the more common conception of the hard 
way as rough, stony (Fuerst, H., S., IM., W.) 
this has the advantage of tollowing more natu- 
rally from the radical idea of continuance and 
permanence. — A.] Hitzig prefers to read jnN\ 
makes hateful, produces hatred (?). [This is 
Noyes' explanation]. 

Ver. 10. [See Critical Notes]. For the mean- 
ing "the wise man doeth all things with under- 
standing,"' comp. xii. 23 : xv. 2. — Ver. 17. A 
bad messenger falleth into trouble. — A 
"bad messenger" (lit., "wicked") is not, as 
might be thought, one who is indolent, tardy, as 
in X. 26 (so Bertheau), but one who is faithless, 
not true to his master, betraying him. He '• falls 
into trouble" as a punishment for his faithless- 
ness. Abnoldi and Hitzig unnecessarily sub- 
stitute the Hiphilfor the Kal, and render "throws 
into trouble." The antithesis between a and b 
is at any rate not an exact one. — But a messen- 
ger of fidelity, a faithful messenger.— Comp. 
xiv. 5; XX. 6, and for this participial form of the 
epithet, xxv. 13.— For this use of "health," 
healing medicine, comp. xii. 18, 



5. Vers. 18-25. Eight additional admonitory 
proverbs, pointing to tlie blessedness of obedi- 
ence to the divine word. — Poverty and shame 
(to him) that refuseth correction. — The par- 
ticipial clause is to be taken as conditional, "'if 
one refuses correction " (conip. Job xli. 18). The 
connection with the main clause is "not gram- 
matically complete, because intelligible of itself," 
conip. Prov. xxvii. 7 (Hitzig). For the meaning 
of tlie verb comp. i. 2-3; iv. 15; viii. 33. — With 
clause h comp. xv. 5, 32. 

Ver. 19. Quickened desire is sweet to 
the soul. — [See Critical Notes.] "Desire that 
has come to be " (Niph. part. ) cannot be designed 
to describe "appeased desire" (Vulg., Luther, 
Lerthkau, Ew.\ld, Elster [Fuerst, H., N., S., 
M., eAcI, but, as the import of clause b and a 
comparison of 12, b suggest, a desire that is just 
originated, has just attained its development, now 
first vividly experienced but not yet satisfied 
(Umbreit, Hitzig). Now that this desire is in 
many instances directed toward evil, and that 
this evil desire is especially hard to appease, — 
this is the truth to which clause b gives expres- 
sion (comp. James i. 14, 15). The second clause 
is not then antithetically related to the first, but 
it makes strongly prominent a single side of the 
general truth already uttered. [To what is said 
in the Critical Notes Rueetschi's comment may 
be added {Stud. u. KriL, 1868, p. 139). He 
renders clause a like the Vulg., E. V., etc., re- 
garding it as the statement of a general psycho- 
logical fact, while b supplies a particular case, 
illustrative and not contrasted. His practical 
use of the sentiment of the proverb is embodied 
in the appeal " Therefore see to it that thy de- 
sire be a good one in whose accomplishment tiiou 
mayest rightly rejoice !" He pronounces Hitzig's 
and Z.'s rendering of riTIJ as untenable lexi- 

T : • 

cally, and false to fact. — A.] 

Ver. 20. Walk w^ith wise men and be- 
come vyise. — So according to the Kthibh: an 
infill, abs. [used as an imperative] followed by an 
imperative instead of a consecutive clause, — 
which is to be preferred to the K'ri [which is fol- 
lowed by LXX, Vulg., E. V., H., N., S. and M.]. 
The latter makes the language less spirited and 
needlessly assimilates it in form to the 2d clause. 
— But whosoever delighteth in fools be- 
cometh base. — In the Hebrew there is a play 
upon words: he who tendeth fools (H^.'^) showeth 
himself base JMT. [This might be thus imitated 
in English: he who attendeth fools tendeth to 
folly]. For this use of the verb "i^y^, to follow 
or attach one's self to some one, sectari aliquem, to 
cultivate intercourse with one, comp. xxviii. 7 ; 
xxix. 3; Jer. xvii. 16. From this is derived 
J7T "friend, comrade." 

Ver. 21. To the righteous God repayeth 
good. — As subject of the verb we should supply 
in this instance not the indefinite suViject, " one," 
man, but rather Jehovah (unlike the instances 
in X. 24 ; xii. 12). Hitzig needle.ssly substitutes 
as an emendation Q^P'. "meeteth," suggested 
by the KnraTi^'tpETai of the LXX. For the mean- 
ing comp. x. 25 ; xi. 3, 5, etc. 

Ver. 22. A good man leaveth an inheri- 
tance tohischildren'schildren. Forthisab- 

soluteuseof the Hiph., "causeth to inherit, trans- 
mitteth his estate," comp. Deut. xxxii. 8. For 
the sentiment comp. Job xxvii. 17; Eccles. ii. 26. 

Ver. 23. The poor man's new land (yield- 
eth) much food. The noun TJ according to 
Hos. X. 12; Jer. iv. 3, describes "newly broken, 
newly ploughed land," i. e. a field newly cleared, 
and therefore cultivated with much effort (Vulg. 
correctly noi'a^(«: Luther less exactly "furrows" 
(Furchen). If such a field nevertheless yields 
its poor possessor " much food," he must be a 
devout and upright poor man, and so possess the 
main condition of genuine prosperity, which is 
wanting to the man mentioned in clause b, who 
is evidently a man of means, a rich man, who 
in consequence of Lis iniquity (lit., "by not- 
justice") is destroyed. — Hitzig on the ground 
of the phraseology, which is certainly somewhat 
hard and obscure, pronounces the verse corrupt, 
and therefore reads 2^1 instead of T'J, and so 
gets for clause a the meaning "A great man who 
consumes the income of capital" (!). Further- 
more he pronounces the whole verse spurious, 
and thinks it originally formed a marginal com- 
ment on xi. 24 (I!) but then by the mistake of some 
copyist was introduced into the text just at this 
point. [RuEETscHi (as above quoted) interprets 
clause a in like manner of the righteous poor 
man's newly cleared land, which, although 
wrought with difficulty, abundantly rewards the 
labor. The 'd^_ of clause b he regards not as a 
verb "there is," but as a substantive (comp. 
viii. 21), with the meaning "substance, wealth." 
This is destroyed where there has been unright- 
eousness. — A.] 

Ver. 24. He that spareth his rod hateth 
his son. See iii. 12: xxiii. 13, 14; xxix. 15; 
Ecclesiast. xxx. 1. — But ^whosoever lovetli 
him seeketh it, correction. The suffix of the 
last verb here, as in ver. 22, refers to the object 
immediately following, and this noun is here 
used actively in the sense of "chastisement, dis- 
cipline which one employs with another." Others 
take the suffix-as the indirect object, equivalent 

to 17, "for him;" he seeketh for him (the son) 
correction. This, however, is not grammatically 
admissible. Hitzig maintains that the verb is 
here to be taken after the analogy of the Arabic 
in the sense of "tame, subdue," and that the 
noun is a second accusative object (?), — and that 
we should therefore translate "he restraineth 
him by correction." So also Hofsiann. Schr{ftbeu\ 
II. 2, 377 (follows him up with correctioYi). With 
ver. 25 comp. Ps. xxxiv. 10 (11), Prov. x. 3, etc. 



The idea which appears in the very first verse, 
of salutary discipline, or of education by the 
word of God and sound doctrine, also reappears 
afterward several times in a significant way 
(vers. 13, 14, 18, 24; comp. vers. 6, 10, 20, 21); 
it therefore to a certain extent controls the whole 
development of thought throughout this Section, 
so far as we may speak of anything of the kind. 
We have also here again as in chap. iv. (see 
above, p. 74,) a chapter on the true religious 

CHAP. XIII. 1-25. 


training of cliiklren. Only it is here specifically 
training to the wise use of earthly blessings (so 
in particular the group vers. 4-12), and to the 
knowledge of God's word as the chief blessing 
(so especially in the 2d half, vers. 13-25); this 
is urged by most of the proverbs that are here 
grouped. Hence the frequent allusions to the 
blessing of constant diligence, and patient labor 
in one's earthly calling in reliance upon God 
(vers. 4, 11, 23, 25); also to the great value of 
earthly possessions gathered under God's gra- 
cious help, as important instrumentalities lor the 
fulfilment of the spiritual duties also involved in 
one's calling (vers. 8, 11, 12, 18, 22) ; further to 
the hateful and harmful nature of pride and 
vanity (vers. 7 a, 10, 16, 18) ; to the evil conse- 
quences of unfaithfulness, since it necessarily 
"smites its own lord" (vers. 2, 5, 15, 17); to the 
importance of good company, and of a decided 
abhorrence of that evil companionship which cor- 
rupts the morals (vers. 1, 6, 20; comp. 1 Cor, 
XV. 33), etc. 

Therefore, in the homiletic treatment of the 
chapter as a whole, we have as a subject " The 
true Christian education of children." 1) Its 
basis: God's word (vers. 1, 18, 14);, 2) its 
means: love, and strictness in inculcating God's 
word (vers. 1, 18, 24); 3) its aim: guidance of 
the youth to the promotion of his temporal and 
eternal welfare (vers. 2 sq., 16 sq.) Or, on the 
right use of God's word as the basis, the means, 
and the end in all human culture. Or, on the 
word of God as the most precious of all posses- 
sions (comp. Matt. vi. 33; xiii. 44-46; 1 Pet. i. 
23-25). — Stocker: — The wise man's discipline 
[Disciplina sapientis). 1) Wherein it consists 
(1-10); 2) What qualities the Well-trained wise 
man possesses, viz. chiefly, a) Moderation and 
prudence in the use of earthly good; h) Humility 
and modesty ; 3) What is the blessing of a wise 

Vers. 1-3. Starke: — No one is born pious; 
every one brings sin with him into the world ; 
therefore from the tenderest childhood upward 
diligence should be employed with youth that 
they may grow up "in the nurture and admoni- 
tion of the Lord" (Eph. vi. 2). There are spirits 
that from merest infancy onward have their jests 
at everything that belongs to virtue and piety 
(Gen. xxi. 9) ; to improve such always costs 
much work and prayer. — (On vers. 2, 3) : If 
words spoken heedlessly before a human tribunal 
are often so dangerous that they can bring one 
into the greatest misfortune, how can evil words 
be indifferent in the view of God the Supreme 
Judge (Matt. xii. 30)? — Wohlfarth : — On what 
does the happy result of education depend? 1) 
On the side of parents, on the strictest conscien- 
tiousness in the fulfilment of their duties as 
educators (ver. 1); 2) On the side of children, 
on their thankful reception of this training 
(vers. 2-9). 

Vers. 4-12. Starke (on ver. 5): — The natural 
man shuns lying and deceit on account of the out- 
ward shame and reproach ; the pious abhors 
them with all his heart for God's sake. — (On 
ver. 7): A man's condition may not be with 
certainty inferred from the outward appearance : 
"all is not gold that glitters" (Eccles. viii. 4; 
1 Sam. xvi. 7). The spiritually poor who feels 

his inward poverty stands in the right relation, 
in which he can become truly rich in the grace 
of God. — (On ver. 8) : The poor man may have 
many advantages over the rich, in case he knows 
how to use his poverty aright. — (On ver. 11): 
That many men of means become poor is caused 
by the fact that they do not wisely apply what 
is theirs, but waste it on all manner of use- 
less things. — (On ver. 12) : If thou hast made 
some promise to thy neighbor, defer not long 
the fulfilment of the promise. He who gives 
promptly gives double. — [Bridges (on ver. 5) : 
— It is not that a righteous man never lies. Nor 
is it a proof of a righteous man that he avoids 
lying. But true religion brings in the new 
taste — conformity to the mind of God. — Trapp 
(on ver. 9) : — A saint's joy is as the light of the 
sun, fed by heavenly influence, and never ex- 
tinct, but diffused through all parts of. the 
world. — (On ver. 11): lU-gottcu goods fly away 
without taking leave of the owner. — (On ver. 
12) : We are short-breathed, short-spirited. 
But as God seldom comes at our time, so He 
never fails at His own; and then He is most 
sweet because most seasonable. — Arnot (on ver. 
12) : — If the world be made the portion of an 
immortal spirit, to want it is one sickness, to 
have it is another. To desire and to possess a 
perishable portion are only two diflTerent kinds 
of misery to men]. — J. Lange (on ver. 12) : — 
('hildren of God must often hope long under the 
cross for their deliverance. Yet when this 
comes at length, it is so refreshing and joyful, 
that they begin as it were to live anew. — Zelt- 
NER (on ver. 12): — Set thj' hope not on the vain, 
uncertain and transient, but on the imperishable 
and eternal, on God and His word, 1 Cor. iv. 18; 
1 Tim. vi. 17. 

Vers. 13-17. Tubingen Bible (on ver. 13): — It 
is very great wisdom gladly to receive correction 
when one has erred ; but it is folly to be angry 
when one is warned against everlasting destruc- 
tion. — Geier : — Faithful discharge of the duties 
that devolve on us secures a good conscience 
and reward from God and men. — [Trapp (on 
ver. 15): — Natural conscience cannot but do 
homage to the image of God stamped upon the 
natures and works of the godly. — Arxot : — It 
is far-seeing mercy that makes the way of trans- 
gressors hard; its hardness warns the traveller 
to turn that he may live]. — Starke (on ver. 10) : 
— If thine act and project are to prosper, begin 
with prudence and good counsel, and so continue 
tdl thou hast done. — Wohlfarth: — Wisdom as 
the fountain of true life. Its correction like its 
counsel is health and blessing; its j'oke is soft 
and light, because it urges us to act and to walk 
simply according to our destination. — Von Ger- 
LACH (on vers. 13 sq.): — A despiser of God's 
word involves himself in its penalties, he falls 
sooner or later under its chastisement: while on 
the contrary his reward never fails the right- 
eous. — (On ver. 17): While the wicked messenger 
prepares misfortune for himself as well as for 
his master, the faithful makes good even his 
lord's mistakes. 

Vers. 18-25. Berlehurg Bible (on ver. 18) : — 
Where one finds a spirit that can tolerate no 
correction, is always excusing and defending 
itself, or throwing the blame on others, fi-om 



such a one there is no good to be hoped. — (On 
ver. 20) : It is very profitable to cultivate friend- 
fchip and familiar intercourse witii spiritually- 
minded men, because one is in general wont easi- 
ly' to take to one's self the spirit of those with 
whom one associates. — Zelt.nkr (on ver. liO): — 
If thou shunnest an infected liouse, how much 
more shouldst thou shun the company of the un- 
godly, that thou mayest not be touched bytiie 
poison of their sins and vices. — [.-Vrnot: — The 
issue to be decided is not what lierd you shall 
graze with a few years before your spirit re- 
turn to the dust-; but what moral element j'ou 
shall move in during the few and evil days of 
life, till your spirit return to God who gave it]. 
— Starke (on ver. 21): — Sin evermore draws 
after it God's wrath and judgments as the 
shadow always closely follows tlie body. — [T. (on ver. 22) : — The usurer lightly begets 
blind children that cannot see to keep what their 
father left them. But when the father is gone 
to hell for gathering, the son often follows for 
scattering. But God is just]. — Melanchthon 

(on ver. 23) : — It is better to possess small means, 
but use them well, and enjoy them with pious 
and contented mind, than to heap up great 
treasures, that pass not away without oli'ences 
of many kinds. — Osi.vsder (on ver. 23). — God 
gives to a pious man who is poor nevertheless 
nourishment enough if he only labor diligently 
in his calling and forsake not prayer. — J. Lange 
(on ver. 24) : — A good father follows his children 
unweariedly with prayer, correction and counsel, 
tliat he may not be forced afterwards bitterly to 
deplore omitting correction at the right time. — 
Vo.\ Gerlach (on ver. 24) : — A loving father 
strives to correct his child early ; he does not 
wait till urgent need forces him to it. — [.Joiix 
Howe: — Fond parents think it love (that spares 
the rod) ; but divine wisdom calls it hatred. — 
Bridges: — The discipline of our children must 
commence with self-discipline. Nature teaches 
us to love them much. But we want a controlling 
principle to teach us to love them wisely. The 
indulgence of our children has its root in self- 

J) AVith reference to the relation between the wise and the foolish, the rich and the poor, masters 

and servants. 

Chap. XIV. 

1 "Woman's wisdom buildeth her house, 

but folly teareth it down with its own hands. 

2 He that walketh uprightly feareth Jehovah, 

but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him. 

3 In the mouth of the foolish is a rod for his pride, 
but the lips of the wise preserve them. 

4 Where there are no oxen the crib is clean, 
but much increase is by the strength of the ox. 

5 A faithful witness cannot lie, 
but a false witness uttereth lies. 

6 The scorner hath sought wisdom, and findeth it not, 
but to the man of understanding is knowledge easy. 

7 Go from the presence of the foolish man ; 

thou hast not found (with him) lips of knowledge. 

8 The wisdom of the i^rudent is to understand his way, 
the folly of I'ools is a deception. 

9 The sacrifice maketh sport of fools, 
but to the righteous there is favor, 

10 The heart kuoweth its own bitterness, 

and let no stranger intermeddle with its joy. 

11 The house of the wicked is overthrown, 
but the tent of the upright shall flourish. 

12 There is a way that seemeth right to man, 
but the end thereof is the ways of death. 

13 Even in laughter the heart will be (perchance) sad, 
and the end of joy is sorrow. 

14 He that is of a perverse heart shall be satisfied with his own ways, 
but a good man (shall be satisfied) from him (E. V. " from himself"). 

CHAP. XIV. l-S:). 139 

15 The simple believeth every word, 
the wise giveth heed to his way. 

16 The wise feareth and departeth from evil, 
but the fool is presuming and confident. 

17 He that is quick to angtr worketh folly, 
and the man of wicked devices is hated. 

18 The simple have secured folly, 

but the wise shall embi-ace knowledge. 

19 The wicked bow before the good, 

and sinners at the doors of the righteous. 

20 The poor is hated even by his neighbor, 
but they that love the rich are many. 

21 "Whosoever despiseth his friend is a sinner, 

but he that hath mercy on the poor — blessings on him ! 

22 Do not they go astray that devise evil? 

and are not mercy and faithfulness with them that devise good? 

23 In all labor there is profit, 

but mere talk (leadcth) only to want. 

24 The crown of the wise is their riches, 
the folly of fools (is evermore) folly. 

25 A true wdtness delivereth souls, 
but he that uttereth lies is a cheat. 

2G In the fear of Jehovah is strong security, 

and to His children He will be a refuge. 
27 The fear of Jehovah is a fountain of life, 

to escape the snares of death. 
23 In the multitude of the people is the king's honor, 

but from want of people (cometh) the downfall of the prince. 

29 He that is slow to wrath is great in understanding, 
but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly. 

30 The life of the body is a quiet spirit, 
but passion the rottenness of the bones. 

31 He that oppresseth the poor hath reproached his Maker, 
whosoever honoreth him hath had mercy on the poor. 

32 By his wickedness is the Avickcd driven forth, 
but the righteous hath hope (even) in his death. 

33 In the heart of a man of understanding doth wisdom rest, 
but in the midst of fools it nuiketh itself known. 

34 Righteousness exalteth a nation, 
but sin is a reproach to any people. 

35 The king's favor is towards a wise servant, 
but his wrath against him that is base. 


Ver. 1.— Read HIODH, as in i. 20; ix. 1, and not n'lrDjpn (f'^ni. plur. constr.), as though "the wise ones among wo- 
men " (cnmp. Jiid. V. 29) were to be here designated (so the LXX, Vnlg;.. Luther). [So substantially the E. V., Noyes, etc., 
distributing the plural on account of the singular of the verb. Fcerst regards Ijn as merely another form of the abstract 

noun. BoTT. does not admit the possibility of this, but explains the form in the text as an indef. or distributive plural, 

holding, nevertheless, that the antithesis with n7^X requires here the usual abstract. §§ TOO, c and n. 4, and 

702, c, 6.— A.] 

Ver. 2. — The ^ in -iriilS is one of the few examples in the early Hebrew of the Hholem plen. in emphatic verbal 

forms beginning or endinu- a clause. See Bott., JIG". — A.] 

Ver. 3.— The form D"'%0il/j~1 should probably bo changed to DI'^Dtyj^i since the assumption of the lengthening 

of the vowel (vnoal Slievril in the syllable prece<ling the accent seems hardly .instified by analogies like Ex.xviii. 26: Ruth 
ii. 8. Conip. HiTZio on this passage. [Bott. defends the form doubtt'iilly, ami regards it as proliably an illustration of the 
speech of the common people. Tlie fern, form of the v.tIi is indicated only by tlie prefix, and not by its ordiuarv termina- 
tion. See gg 367. 6, 1043, 4 and n. 3, and 1047, fl. See Oreen. §105, rf.— A.] 

Ver. 5. — [2TD'', one of Bottcher's examples of the ^^Fiens licitum," what may or can be; JO.iO, c, P; will not=can not. — A.] 

Ver. 6. — [D'p3 a. "relative" perfect, liUe SIIH and jyin in ver. 31; "hath been seeking .... and it is not," "hath 
already virtually reproached his Maker," "hath already shown mercy." — Bon., §950, 1. — A.j 



^pj is undoubtedly a neuter participle,=n7pJ. a trifle, a small, easy matter. 

VerTl.— [Three points come under consideration: 1) the meaning of S IJi).?' 2) the force of the perfect tens* 

P\^'\\ and 3) the meaning of the connective 1. Ou the first, in addition to the arguments of Z. in the exegelical nutea, 

RuEETSCHi urges (as before cited, p. UO) tliat with verbs of motion the only natural rendering is " from before," the 

S being justified by Deut. xxviii. 66 as well as the passage in Judges. Iq regard to the second the simple perfect is easier 

than a predictive perfect ; thou hast not=thou surely wilt not. Z. omits the connective ) in his version ; " and " might 

be equivalent to "in case, or where thou hast not," etc. Rueetschi somewhat more unnaturally renders "otherwise;" he 
obtains the very forcible meaning "otherwise thou hast not known lipj of luiowlodjib"— hast not learned their nature, 
and art now mukiii^ this evident. Dfi Wettb agrees with Rosenmuelle[1 in rendering clause 6 as a relative clause—" and 
fi-om him in ivhom thou ha^t not," etc.— ft..^ .>,o-c, i 

Ver. 10.— [^ITTjI' - for - in final syllable under the influence of the guttural, Green, gll9, 1; Bott., (i6iii,l, 

1055. In JT^O, derived from 110, we have one of the few instances of a doubled 1. See Green, § 60, 4, a, Bottchee, 

2392, 2, c— A.] 

Ver. 12. [lin is used in the first clause as masc, in the second as fern. In the historical books, Jerem. and Proverbs, 

this confusion is common. See BiJTT., §g657, 2; 877, 7. e. — A.] 

Ver. 13. The suffix in rijTinXI refers to the following nDOK?, as iu the passages cited above in connection witU 

xiii. 4. To divide Ityn iTinXI {J- D- Michaelis, IIitzig) is an alteration altogether unnecessary in the case before us, 

where the expression "joy " in clause 6 is nothing but a repetition of that of " laughter" in clause a. 

Ver. 14.— To change to vShl'DD? (L- Capellus, Jaeger, etc.), or to vh'>'0 (Elster, comp.EwALc) is plainly needless 
TT-:- ■ ' ., T 

in view of the simple and obvious interpretation of V7>?0 given in the notes. 

[Bott. proposes with great confidence to amend clause 6 by substituting for t^'X the verb ty''p"' ; g? 460, 2, a, and 

1143, 6; "good will depart from him." — A.] 

Ver. 15. — [Observe the emphatic change of accent and vocalization in TIS.] 

Ver. 17. In vie%v of the explanation which may be given of the text, attempted emendations appear needless and in- 
appropriate, such, e. g., as Ewald's, who proposes instead of Njti^' to read X-IK^' (" be quiets his anger," " keeps his equa- 
nimity ") ; or that of Hitzig, who to secure the same meaning reads JNII'% c^c. [Rceetschi emphatically defends the re- 
ceived text.] L 

Ver. 18.— [Observe the change of tense ; tlT\l^ "Perfeclum repentinum," used of that which is easily and quickly done ; 

>|1ij-13\ "Fiens licitum," are disposed or inciine i to wait, etc. Bott., gg 950, B ; 940, 2; 943, c, a. — A.] 

Ver. 25. — [n^3') as in vi. 19; xii. 17 ; xix. 5, 9, an irregular participial form.] 

Ver. 28.— P"t"1 is a collateral form of n'n, as p'vd); of pt^i^. The expression hero stands as a parallel to IQ'3, as 

the plural DJIII often stands side by side with QO/O. 
■ : • T : 

Ver. 30.— [D'ltyS, plural, probably, on account of the following ni'Dy_i». Bott. however (2695, 5) explains it as an 

example of the "pluralis extensivus'" used also of the entire, the complete, the large, — "the life of the whole body." — A.] 

proverb is not quite the same as in x. 15 ; xiii. 8 
(a commendation of moderate wealth as a means 
of doing good and as a preservative from spiri- 
tual want). Rather is this the probable meaning: 
"He who will develop his wealth to a gratifying 
abundance must employ the appropriate means; 
for " nothing costs nothing, but brings nothing 
in" (Elster, Hitzig). — With ver. 5 comp. xii- 
17; with b in particular vi. 19. — Ver. 6. The 
scorner hath sought ■wisdom, and findeth 
it not, — lit., " and it is not," comp. xiii. 7. The 
bearing of this proverb is plainly directed against 
that superlicial, trivial, seeming culture of the 
scoflFers at religion, (who, in the perverted sense 
of the word, are "the enlightened"), which lacks 
all genuine earnestness, and for that very reason 
all really deep knowledge and discernment — 
But to the man of understanding is knovy- 
ledge given. — See critical notes. 

Ver. 7. Go from the presence of the fool- 
ish man. — So Lutiif.h had already correctly ren- 
dered ; also De AVette, Behtueau, Elsteii; for 
IJjO [from the front, from before] docs not de- 
scribe motion directly toward or at one (Ewald, 
comp. Ujibkeit), but remoteness from him, as Is. 

i. 16; Am. ix. 3 ; and for the connection with 7 
which, it is true, is unusual, comp. Judges xx. 
34. [See critical notes]. — Hitzig, following the 
LXX and Syr. vers., writes the first word of the 


1. A^'ers. 1-7. On wisdom and folly in general. 
— "Woman's wisdom buildeth her house. 
[See critical notes]. It is plain that in contrast 
with this wisdom of the godly we are to under- 
stand by " folly " in clause b especially woman's 
folly. — With ver. 2, a, compare x. 9; with b, ii. 
1-5; iii. 32. — Ver. 3. In the fool's mouth is 
a rod for his pride, — lit., "a rod of pride." 
[Is this genitive subjective or objective? a rod 
which his pride uses, for himself, or others, or 
both, as it has been variously understood, — or 
a rod by which his pride is itself chastised ? The 
antithesis commends the latter, which is the view 
of Bertiieau, Kamph., etc., as well as Z. Ac- 
cording to S., "pride" is the subject and not a 
limiting genitive — A.] Hitzig unnecessarily 
proposes to understand HIXJ in the sense of \J 
"back," a meaning which even in Job xli. 7 
hardly belongs to the word [although given by 
Aquila, Jerome, etc.'\ (Comp. Delitzscu on the 
passage. ) — But the lips of the wise preserve 
them. — For the construction comp. xi. (i; xii. 0, 
etc.; for the meaning, x. 13, 14. — Ver. 4. Where 
there are no oxen the crib remaineth 
empty. — DOX, "crib," not "stall" (Umrueit); 
"13, in itself meaning "pure, clean," is here 
"empty;" so sometimes "'PJ. The drift of the 

CHAP. XIV. 1-35. 


Verse /3 instead of ^^, and in clause 6 reads 
nyn-S^ instead of m'T ^3, from which the 

'^- ■ : T : -T - 

meaning is obtained " The foolish man hath every 
thing before him, but lips of knowledge are a re- 
ceptacle of understanding " (LXX: ij-'ka 6e ala&i/- 
ceuq). But the idea of the second clause experi- 
ences iu this way no possible improvement, but 
only an injury (observe the tautological charac- 
ter of the expressions "lips of knowledge" and 
" receptacle or vessel of knowledge"), and for 
this reason we should retain the meaning given 
above for the first clause also. — In clause b the 
vei'b is a proper perfect, " thou hast not known 
or recognized lips of knowledge," this is, if thou 
soughtest any such thing in him. [W. is wrong 
in rendering " over against," and " wilt not 
know." — A.] 

2. Vers. 8-19. Further delineation of the wise 
and the foolish, especially with reference to their 
contrasted lot in life. — The wisdom of the 
wise is to understand his w^ay, — lit., "ob- 
serve his way." For this use of the verb with 
the accusative, in the sense of to "observe or 
consider something," comp. chap. vii. 7; Ps. v. 2. 
For the sentiment of the vorso comp. xiii. 16, and 
ver. 15 below. — The folly of fools is decep- 
tion. — "Deceit" here iu the sense of self-de- 
ception, imposition on self, blindness, which is 
at last followed by a fearful self-sobering, a 
coming to a consciousness of the real state of the 
case (comp. Ps. vii. 15; Job xv. 35). 

Ver. 9. The sacrifice maketh sport of 
fools, — i. e., the expiatory sacrifice which un- 
godly fools offer to God is utterly useless, fails 
of its object, inasmuch as it does not gain the 
favor of God, which is, on the contrary, to be 
found only among the upright (lit., "between 
upright men," i. e., in the fellowship of the up- 
right or honorable, comp. Luke ii. 14). Thus 
Bertheau, Ewald, Elster [Stuart and Words- 
WORTu], etc., while the majority, disregarding 
the singular member in the verb, translate 
"Fools make a mock at sin" [E. V., M., N., H.] 
("make sport with sin," Umbreit, comp. Lu- 
ther). [Hodgson, rightly conceiviug the gram- 
matical relation, but making both subject and 
object concrete, renders "sinners mock at 
fools"]. HiTziG here again proposes violent 
emendations, and obtains the meaning "The 
tents (?) of the foolish are overthrown (? ?) in 
punishment ; the house (?) of the upright is well 

Ver. 10. The heart knoweth its O'wrn bit- 
terness, — lit., "a heart knoweth the trouble of 
its soul," i. e., what one lacks one always knows 
best one's self; therefore the interference of 
strangers will always be somewhat disturbing. 
If this be so, then it follows that it is also not 
advisable "to meddle with one's joy," and this 
is the point that is urged in clause b. A precept 
applicable unconditionally to all cases is of 
course not designed here. The author of our 
proverbs will hardly be put in antagonism to 
what the Apostle enjoins in Rom. xii. 15. It is 
rather a hard and intrusive manifestation of 
sympathy in the joy and sorrow of one's neigh- 
bor, that is to be foi-bidden. — With 11, a, comp. 
xii. 7; Job xviii. 15 ; with b, Is. xxvii. (>. — With 
ver. 12, a, comp. xii. 15; xvi. 2. — But the end 

thereof are ways of death, — /. e., the way 
of vice, M'liicli at the beginning appears straight 
(the way is not directly described as the way of 
vice, yet is plainly enough indicated as such), at 
length merges itself wholly in paths that lead 
down to mortal ruin; comp. ver. 4; vii. 27. — 
The same verse appears again below in xvi. 25. 
Ver. 13. Even in laughter the heart will be 
(perchance) sad. — The Impcrf. of t!;e verb here 
expresses a possible case, something that may 
easily and often occur. The contrasted condition 
is suggested bj' Eccles. vii. 4: "Though the face 
be sad, the heart may yet be glad." [Notwith- 
standing Holuen's observation, that "though 
sorrow may be occasioned % laughter, it does 
not exist in it," ii is a deeper truth, that in cir- 
cumstances producing a superficial joyousness, 
there is often an underlying, profounder sor- 
row. — A.] — And the end of joy Lh sorrow 
[not by a mere emotional reaction, but] in such 
a case as this; the heart, which under all appa- 
rent laughter is still sad, feels and already anti- 
cipates the evil that will soon have wholly trans- 
Ibrmed the gladness into grief. 

Ver. 14. He that is of a perverse heart 
shall be satisfied ^with his ow^n ways, i. c, 
he who h;is departed from God (lit., "he that is 
turned aside in heart," comp. Ps. xliv. 19) is 
surfeited with his own ways, partakes of the 
ruinous results of his sinful action ; comp. xii. 
14; xiii. 2; xxviii. 19. — ^But a good man 
(shall be satisfied) from him, /. t., the good 
man solaces himself in the contemplation of the 
wicked and his fate (chap. xxix. IG ; Job xxii. 
19; Ps. xxxvii. 34; Iviii. 11); or, it may be, 
the upright man enters into the possession of the 
good which the other loses (comp. xi. 8, 29 ; xiii. 

22). V7j7p, strictly "from with him," expresses 
here this idea, — " from that which belongs to 
him as its foundation" (Hitzig), and therefore 
" from his experience, from the sorrowful oc- 
currences of life in which he is deservedly in- 
volved." [E. v., H., N., M. render reflesively 
"from himself," and make the experiences pa- 
rallel; each shall be satisfied "with his own 
ways," or "from himself." The third pers. suf- 
fix has this reflexive meaning after 7^0 dis- 
tinctly in 1 Sam. xvii. 22, 89; Jonah iii. 0. The 
suiSx in clause a is reflexive, "his own ways," 
and we must regard the same construction as 
the simplest and most natural in b — A.] 

Ver. 15. The simple belie veth every w^ord, 
— Ei.ster: "every thing." But as objects of 
belief, it is, in the first instance, and most di- 
rectly, words alone that come under considera- 
tion, aTid reference is made here precisely to the 
unreliableness of words as used by men, as in 
chap. vi. 1 sq.; X. 19 ; Eccles. v. 1 sq.; Ps. cxvi. 
11, etc. — With clause b compare above ver. 8 a. — 
Ver. 16. With clause a compare xvi. 6. 17. — 
The fool is presuming and confident. 
— Comp. xxi. 24 ; xxviii. 16. The latter of these 
descriptive terms unquestionably describes a 
false security, and carnal ai-rogance, which is the 
opposite of the fear of God. The former epithet 
means "self-exalting, bearing one's self inso- 
lently," or it may be (like the Kal conj. of the 
same verb in chap. xxii. 3) " boldly rushing on, 



overriding" (IIitziq, comp. Luther, "rushes 
wildly througji "). 

Ver. 17. He that is quick to anger work- 
eth folly. — Strictly, " he who foams up 
quickly, who flies into a passion," contrasted 
with the man who is "slow to anger," ver. 29. 
[D'3X, the nostrils, then the breathing, which 
by its quietness or its excitement, marks the 
state of the temper]. — And the man of -wick- 
ed devices is hated. — Literally, '-the man 
of shrewd reflections, well contrived counsels " 
(comp. remarks on i. 4, and also chap. xii. 2; 
xxiv. 8 ; Ps. x.KXvii. 7), who is not here set as a 
contrast, but as a counterpart to the passionate 
man; the crafty and subtle man, who, in spite 
of all his show of mildness, is still as thoroughly 
hated as the irascible and passionate man. The 
relation of the two clauses is accordingly not an- 
tithetic, but that of a logical parallel. With one 
manifestation of an evil disposition another is 
immediately associated, with a suggestion of the 
results which are in accordance with it; comp. 
chap. X. 10, 18. 

Ver. 18. But the wise shall embrace 
kno^wledge.— ^TjT'PI (comp. Ps. cxlii. 8), liter- 
ally, "surround, enclose," cannot here mean 
"they crown themselves, or are crowned" [the 
verb is not reflexive] (Umbreit, comp. Luther 
[De W., E. v., H., N., S., M., W.]), but, as the 
parallel verb in clause a indicates, must convey 
simply the naeaning of "laying hoM upon," i. e., 
gathering, accumulating [so Fuerst, Beetheau, 
Kamph., etc.'\. 

Ver. 19. And the ■wicked at the doors 
of the righteous, — i. e., they bow there (the 
verb is to be repeated from the first clause). The 
figure lying at the basis of this representation is 
that of the ambassadors of a conquered people, 
who, kneeling at the doors of their conqueror's 
palace, await his command. For the general 
sentiment comp. xiii. 9, 22 ; also Psalm xxxvii. 
25, etc. • 

3. Vers. 20-27. On riches and poverty in their 
causal connection with wisdom and folly. — The 
poor is hated even by his neighbor. — Comp. 
xix. 4; Ecclesiast. vi. 7 sq.; xii. 8 sq. Numerous 
parallels from classic authoi-s (e. g., Theogxis, 
V. 621, 697 ; Ovid, Trist., I., 9, 5, 6), and also 
from Rabbinical and Arabic authors, may be 
found in U.mcreit's Commentary in loco. " Is 
hated," i. e., "is repelled as disagreeable, is ob- 
noxious" (comp. Deut. xx. 15 ; Mai. i. 3). How 
this may come to pass, how former friendship 
between two persons may be transformed into 
its opposite on account of the impoverish- 
ment of one of them, is impressively illustrated 
by our Lord's parable of the neighbor whom a 
friend asks for three loaves (comp. Luke xi. 5-8.) 
— Ver. 21. Whosoever despiseth his friend 
is a sinner, i. c, he who neglects a friend that 
has fallen into destitution (comp. ver. 20 a), who 
does not render him assistance, sins just as surely 
as his act is praiseworthy who is compassionate 
to the poor or wretched (read D"Ji^ with the 
K'thibh). With the benediction in clause b com- 
pare xvii. 20. 

Ver. 22. Do they not err that devise evil? 
— The figurative expression "carve evil" (comp. 
ill. 29 J vi. 14) has as its counterpart in the se- 

cond clause the kindred figure '• carve out 
good," i. e.. contrive or devise good [bona rnachi' 
nari). Instead of ^i,'>}\ "they err, or go astray" 
(comp. Job XV. 31) Hitzig reads ly)' (from 
>'>n): "Ought it not to go ill with them that devise 
evil?" But the language of the text character- 
izes with sufficient strength and clearness the 
unsettled and disastrous condition of those who 
have departed tVom Gods ways. — And are not 
mercy and truth with those that devise 
good? — The interrogative particle uttVcts the se- 
cond clause as well as the first (so Ujibukit, and 
doubtless correctly, in opposition to most modera 
interpreters [e. y., E. V., De W.. Bkrtheau, H., 
j\I., S., K., while Noyes agrees with oar author]). 
The construction is like that in xiii. 18. — 
" Mercy and truth " are probably God's mani- 
festations of Himself toward them, as in Gen. 
xxxii. 11; Ps. Ixi. 7, and not human attributes, 
as above in chap. iii. 3 (see note in loco), or as in 
xvi. 6; XX. 28. [So Trapp and others, while 
M. and S. make them human, — M. making these 
the experience, and S, the action of those who 
devise good. — A.] 

Ver. 23. In all labor there is profit, but 
idle talk (leadeth) only to want. — (Comp. xi. 
24; xxi. 5) ; in the latter passage "profit" and 
"want" are contrasted precisely as here. — "Idle 
talk;" in the Hebrew literally, "word of the 
lips;" comp. Isa. xxxvi, 5; Job xi. 2; xv. 3. The 
sentiment of the entire verse is moreover plain: 
"One should beware of idle talk more than of 
the hardest toil" (Bertheau). Comp. Matt. 
xii. 36. 

V^er. 24. The crown of the wise is their 
riches, i. e. the well-earned possessions of the 
wise become his honor, are a real adornment to 
him, for which he is with good reason praised. 
" The folly of fools, on the other hand, is and 
continues folly," though he may ever so much 
parade and swell with it, though he may in par- 
ticular studiously -employ any riches he may 
chance to possess in splendidly decorating him- 
self, and giving himself a magnificent appear- 
ance by all manner of outward trifles and finery 
(comp. Bertheau, Umbreit, Elster on this 
passage). [Trapp : " Why, was it not foolish- 
ness before they were rich ? Yes, but now it is 
become egregious foolishness"]. — Hitzig has 
here again needlessly felt constrained to amend. 
He reads in clause a " their prudence," DO'llS 

T : r 

and in clause b, as the subject, " ostentation," 

Jl7!IX instead of r\7^X ; so he obtains the mean- 
ing, "The crown of the wise is their prudence 
(?) ; the pomp of fools is — drunken (??)." 

Ver. 25. A true witness delivereth souls, 
i. e. from the death involved in some false charge 
brought against them before the court, anil which 
therefore threatens them in case a truthful wit- 
ness does not clear them and bring tiieir inno- 
cence to light. — But he that uttereth lies 
(comp. ver. 5; vi. 19) is a cheat. — ('ompare xii. 
17, where, however, "deceit" HO^O is object 
of the preceding verb " showeth forth," and 
not predicate. Here the abstract " deception " 
stands emphatically for the concrete, "a deceit- 
ful man, one without substance or reliableness ;" 
comp. above ver. 8, b. [Rueetschl (as above, 

CHAr. XIV. 1-35. 


J). 142) would simplify the construction by re- 
taining 7'i"3 as the common predicate of both 
clauses, and would give to the second object the 
meaning " wrongiul or unrighteous possession," 
citing as a parallel Jer. v. 27. We cannot com- 
mend the suggestion. — A.] Hitzig instead of 
"deceit" (i^O^O) reads DrS^D "he destroyeth " 
(;. e. souls), in order to obtain as exact an anti- 
thesis as possible to the " delivereth" in the first 

Ver. 26. In the fear of Jehovah is strong 
security, or, the fear of Jehovah is strong secu- 
rity, is a sure reliance; for the preposition may 
properly stand before the subject as the 3 ensen- 
tix, as in Isa. xxvi. -1 ; Ivii. 6 (so Hitzig). — 
And to His children He will be a refuge.— 
"To His children," /.(?. doubtless to His wor- 
shippers, those faithful to Him, who for that 
very reason are His favorites and objects of His 
care (comp. Deut. xiv. 1). This reference of the 
sutiix to .Jehovah Himself is unquestionably more 
natural than to refer it to the pious, an idea 
which must first be very artificially extract- 
ed from the "fear of Jehovah" (contrary 
to the view of Umbreit, Ewald, Beiitiieau, 

Elster, [H., N., M., S.]). Hitzig reads VjbS 
" to its builders," i. e. to them who seek to build 
up that strong fortress, that " security" of the 
fear of Jehovah (?). With ver. 27 comp. xiii. 
14. [RuEETScHi (as above, p. 142) supports the 
idea rejected by Zocklek, that the divine pro- 
tection extends to the children and the children's 
children of such as honor God. Although not 
without grammatical warrant for the construc- 
tion, and conveying beautifully a precious scrip- 
tural truth, we must regard the rendering as 
here somewhat forced. — A.] 

4. Vers. 28-35. Continued parallels between 
the wise and the foolish, the rich and the poor — 
with the addition of the closely related compari- 
son of masters and servants. — From want of 
people (cometh) the dow^nfall of the prince. 

" People " (Di< /) as in xi. 26. Whether in the 

choice of the word rendered "prince" there is 
a hidden allusion to the ordinary meaning, 
"consumption" (Hitzig, comp. U.mbreit) must 
remain in doubt. For this use of tier's, down- 
fall, ruin, comp. x. 14; xiii. 3. 

Ver. 20. He that is slow to ailger is great 
in understanding. — Literally, he that is 
long or slow in anger, fipadvg elg opyr'/v, James 
i. 19; therefore, the forbearing, the patient. 
" Great, i. e. rich in understanding " (comp. 
"great in acts," 2 Sam. xxiii. 20); comp. the 
Latin multus prudentia. — But he that is hasty 
in spirit (quick-tempered) exalte th folly, i. e. 
makes much of it, carries it to excess. Thus 
Hitzig, and doubtless correctly, M'hile the ma- 
jority take the verb in the sense of "to exalt 
before the view of men," manifestare, dcclarare, 
for which idea however the parallel passages 
xii. 23 ; xiii. 16 are by no means conclusive 
[H., S., M., W. all take this view]. 

Ver. 30. The life of the body is a quiet 
spirit. — Lit., "life of the members (see Critical 
Notes) is a heart of quietness" (NiD'IO not mean- 

ing here " health," but composui e, a tranquil con- 
dition, as in XV. 4; Eccles. x. 4). — But passion 
the rottenness of the bones. — Comp. xii. 4, 
and for this use of nxjp, "passionate zeal," 
violent excitement in general (not specifically 
envy or jealousy) Job v. 2. — Ver. 31. With clause 
a compare xvii. 5, with b, xix. 17 a, and above 
ver. 2L 

Ver. 32. By his wickedness is the wicked 
driven forth, driven forth, i. e. from life; he is 
by a violent death swept away from this earthly 
life (comp. Ps. xxxvi. 12; Ixii. 3). — But the 
righteous hath hope (even) in his death. He 
"is confident," viz. in Jehovah; comp. Ps. xvii. 
7, where the same absolute use of the participle 
" trusting " occurs (the " trustful " in general, 
believers). As in chap. xi. 7, and if possible 
even more distinctly than in that passage, we 
have expressed here a hope in the continuance 
of the individual life after death, and a just 
retribution in the future world. Hitzig, to avoid 
this admission, reads in accordance with the 
LXX [tv r?/ iavTov oclottjti) 13ri3, in his upright- 
ness, "but in his innocence doth the righteous 
trust." But may not this divergent reading of 
the LXX owe its origin to the endeavor to gain 
an antithesis as exact as possible to the " in his 
wickedness" of the first clause? [Rueetschi 
(as last cited) preserves the recognition of a hope 
of immortality and also the poetical parallelism, 
by giving to the word "evil," nj/'1, a physical 
rather than an ethical meaning : "in his misfor- 
tune (or adversity) the wicked is overthrown, 
but the righteous has confidence even in hia 
death." For the wicked all hope is gone. This 
seems to us a happy reconciliation of the gram- 
matical and spiritual demands of the two parts 
of the verse. — A.] 

Ver. 33. In the heart of a man of under- 
standing doth w^isdom rest, i. e. quietly, si- 
lently ; comp. X. 14; xii. 16, 23, and for tliis use of 
the verb 1 Sam. xxv. 9. — But in the midst of 
fools it maketh itself known, /. e. not " fools 
draw out the wisdom of the wise," which is natu- 
rally quiet, in opposition to them and their folly 
(Hitzig), but, fools carry their wisdom, which 
is, however, in fact, only folly, always upon 
their tongues, and seek most assiduously to make 
it known (comp. xii. 23 ; xiii. 16 ; xv. 2). The 
expression is pointed and ironical, and yet not 
for that reason unintelligible, especially after 
expressions like those in vers. 8, 16, 24, etc. It 
is therefore unnecessarj- with the Chaldee version 
to supply the noun "folly" again with the verb. 

Ver. 34. Righteousness exalteth a nation. 
Riffhteousness, HpTi, is here used with a very 

■- Itt : 

comprehensive import, of religious and moral 
rectitude in every relation and direction, and is 
therefore not to be restricted, as it is by many 
recent commentators (Umbreit, Hitzig, etc.), to 
the idea of virtue. Just as little is the idea of 
"exalting" to be identified with the idea of 
"honoring" (as Elster, Hitzig, etc., would 
have it) ; it is rather a general elevation and ad- 
vancement of the condition of the people that is 
to be indicated by the term; comp. above, ver. 
29. — But sin is a reproach to the people. 
— For the Aramaic term HOn, " shame," comp. 



xxviii. 22 (also xxv. 10), and Job vi. 14. And 
yet in this national reproach and disgrace there 
is to be included the cori'espunding injury and 
misery of other kinds, so that ia this view there 
is a certain justification for the Vulgate's ren- 
dering, " mkcros fac/t " (which however rests 
upon the different reading IDnV. comp. the LXX 
and the Syr. vers.), and for Luther's '^Verder- 
derhen," destruction. 

Ver. 85. With clause a comp. xvi. 12. — But 
his wrath -will find out the base, — lit., "his 
■wrath will the base be;" comp., e. ff., xi. 1, 
where " his abomination " means the object of 
his abhorrence. To supply the preposition "to," 

7, from clause a, is therefore needless (in oppo- 
sition to the view of Umbreit, Bertheau). 


The representation of the entire chapter is 
plainly shaped by the contrast between the wise 
and the foolish, and it is only toward the end 
(vers. 20 sq.) that the kiadred contrast between 
the rich and the poor, and at the very last (vers. 
27 sq.) that, between rulers and servants, is 
added. — Ethical truths to which a significant 
prominence is given, are contained especially in 
the following proverbs : 

Ver. 1. The building of the house by the wis- 
dom of woman. "Only the characteristic wis- 
dom of looman (not that of the man) is able to 
'build itself a house,' i. e., to make possible a 
household in the true sense of the word; for the 
woman alone has the capacity circumspectly to 
look through the multitude of individual house- 
hold wants, and carefully to satisfy them ; and 
also because the various activities of the members 
of the family can be combined in a harmonious 
unity only by the influence, partly regulative 
and partly fostering, of a feminine character, 
gently but steadily efficient. But where there is 
wanting to the mistress of the house this wisdom 
attainable only by her and appropriate to her, 
then that is irrecoverably lost which first binds 
in a moral fellowship those connected by rela- 
tionship of blood — that which makes the house 
from a mere place of abode to. become the spiri- 
tual nursery of individuals organically associ- 
ated." (Elster). 

Ver. 6. The impossibility of uniting a frivolous 
disposition and jests at religion with true wisdom 
and understanding. " It is not by a one-sided 
action of the thinking power, but only by undi- 
vided consecration of the whole nature to God, 
wliich therefore involves above all other things a 
right relation of the spiritual nature to Him, that 
true knowledge in Divine things can be attained. 
The wise man, however, who has found the true 
bcinning of wisdom, in bowing his inmost will 
before the Divine, not as something to be mas- 
tered by the understanding, but as something to 
be simply sought as a grace by the renunciation 
of the very self, — he can easily on this ground 
which God's own power makes productive, at- 
tain a rich development of the understanding." 

Ver. 10. The disturbing influence of an unin- 
vited interference in the sorrow and the joy of 
one's neighbor. "Every one has his own circle 

of sorrows and joys, which his neighbor must 
leave to him as a quiet sanctuary for himself. 
For in the liveliest sympathy of which one may 
ever be conscious, it will still often be altogether 
impossible to enter into the peculiarity of others' 
sensibility with such a participation as is really 
beneficent. Therefore a Turkish proverb (in 
Von Hammer, Morgenl. Kkebl., p. 68) also says 
'Eat thine own grief and trouble not thyself for 
another's'" (Umbreit). — Comp. above, our exe- 
getical notes on this passage. 

Ver. 12. The self-deception of many men in re- 
gard to their courses, imagined to be healthful, 
but in reality leading to eternal ruin. Comp. 
Melanchthon : " The admonition relates to the 
mistiness and weakness of man's judgment, and 
his many and great errors in counsel, for it is 
manifest that men often err in judging and in 
their deliberations. Now they are deceived 
either by their own imaginations, or by tiie ex- 
ample of others, or by habit, etc., and being de- 
ceived, they rush on all the more fascinated by 
the devil, as is \vritten of Judas in John xiii. 27." 

Ver. 14. The fool ever accumulating nothing 
but folly, and the wise man gaining in know- 
ledge. Li'ue ver. 24 this proverb is especially 
instructive with respect to the deep inner con- 
nection that exists on the one hand between fool- 
ish notions, and a poor, unattractive, powerless 
earthly position, destitute of all influence, — and 
on the other hand between true wisdom and large 
ability in the department both of the material 
and the spiritual. Vox Gerlach pointedly says, 
" There is a certain power of attraction, accord- 
ing as a man is wise or foolish ; the possessions 
also whicli the one or the other attains, are ia 
accordance with his disposition." 

Ver. 28. A sentiment directed against feeble 
princes who nevertheless array themselves with 
disproportionate splendor ; and this, as also ver. 
34, is designed to call attention to the principle, 
that it is not external and seeming advantages, 
but simply and solelj' the inward competence and 
moral excellence, whether of the head or of the 
members of a commonwealtli, that are the condi- 
tions of its temporal welfare. 

Ver. 31. Compassion to the poor is true service 
of God ; comp. James i. 27. Since God has 
created both rich and poor (1 Sara. ii. 7), since 
He designs that they shall exist side by side and 
intermixed (Prov. xxii. 2), since the poor and 
lowly man is in like manner a being created in 
His image (James iii. 9), therefore he who deals 
heartlessly and violently with the poor in.sults 
that Being Himself who is the Maker and Kuler 
of all. The compassionate, on the contrary, dis- 
cerns and lienors His disposition toward His 
creatures, and the love which he manifests to- 
ward them, even the luimblest and most unwor- 
thy, is in fact manifested toward God Himself; 
comp. Matth. xxv. 40. — Ver. 32. The^jonfidence 
which the righteous man possesses even in his 
death. Compare the exegetical explanation of 
the passage. 


Homily on the entire chapter : The wisdom 
and folly of men considered in their respective 
foundations, natures and results ; and 1) within 

CHAP. XIV. 1-35. 


the sphere of domestic life (vers. 1-7); 2) within 
that of civil life (vers. 8-25) ; 3) within that of 
political or national life (vers. 26-35). — Stockur: 
Of human wisdom as the fruit of a right cul- 
ture, — and 1) of the wisdom of domestic life 
[jn-udentia occonomica, vers. 1-25) ; 2) of the wis- 
dom of public life (prudentia polilica, vers. 2tJ-35). 
Stauke : The results of piety and ungodliness 
1) in the household, and in social life generally 
(1-25) ; 2) in the relations of rulers in particular 

Vers. 1-7. Berleburg Bible: — That wise women 
build their house, is to be understood not so 
much of the edifice consisting of wood, stone, 
plaster, as rather of the family and the house- 
hold economy, which a wise woman always strives 
to keep in good condition and to improve. Ps. 
cxxvii. 1. — Ta'niKjen Bible (on vers. 3) : He who 
is wise keepeth his mouth and still more his 
heart, that he may not in connection with out- 
ward consideration and high dignities fall into 
pride. — (On ver. 4) : He that doth not work also 
shall not eat; the poverty of many springs from 
this, that they lack industry and diligence. — 
Starke (on ver. 6) : He who in seeking wisdom 
has for his end pride and ambition, will never 
attain true wisdom, unless he changes his views. 
- — (On ver. 7): Evil one always learns more 
quickly and easily than good ; therefore avoid 
evil company. — [A. Fuller (on ver. 6) : If our 
inquiries be influenced by a spirit of pride and 
self-sufficiency, we shall stumble at evei-y thing 
we meet with; but he who knows his own weak- 
ness and conducts his inquiries with humil- 
ity, shall find knowledge easy of attainment. — 
Arnot : Those who reject the Bible want the first 
qualification of a philosopher, a humble and 
teachable spirit. The problem for man is not to 
reject all masters, but to accept the rightful 
One. Submission absolute to the living God, as 
revealed in the Mediator, is at oncf *be best li- 
berty that could be, and the only liberty that 
is. — Trapp (on ver. 6) : He that would have 
heavenly knowledge must first quit his heart of 
corrupt atfections and high conceits.] 

Vers. 8-17. Tiibingen Bible (on ver. 8) : — 
Steady watchfulness and attention to one's self 
is a great wisdom. — (On ver. 9) : To make sport 
of sin is the height of wickedness. — St.\rke (on 
ver. 10) : He who knoweth the heart alone 
knoweth the needs of thy heart, which no other 
besides doth know. He can likewise give thee 
joy where no other can create it for thee. — (On 
ver. 10): lleverence and love to God must be 
with us the strongest motive to avoid sin. — (On 
ver. 17): Between the hasty trespasses of pas- 
sionate natures, and the deliberate wickedness 
of malicious man, there is always a great dis- 
tinction to be made. — Von Gerlach (on ver. 10) : 
How hard it is to console and soothe others, Job's 
answers to the discourses of his friends are a 
signal illustration. — (On ver. 12) : In connection 
witli the deceptive, seductive show made by im- 
piety, it is important to give more careful heed 
to one's way in life. — (On ver. 17) : A man who 
quickly falls into a passion does indeed commit 
a folly, but yet is far preferable to the coldlj' and 
selfishly calculating villain. One may well be 
indignant at the first — the last makes himself 
odious. — [Lord Bacon [Advancement of Learning, 

Book VIII.), on vers. 8 and 15: He who applies 
himself to the true wisdom takes heed of his own 
ways, foreseeing dangers, preparing remedies, 
employing the assistance of the good, guarding 
himself against the wicked, cautious in entering 
upon a work, not unprepared for a retreat, 
watchful to seize opportunities, strenuous to re- 
move impediments, and attending to many other 
things which concern the government of his own 
actions and proceedings. But the other kind of 
wisdom is entirely made up of deceits and cun- 
ning tricks, laying all its hope in the circumvent- 
ing of others, and moulding them to its pleasure ; 
which kind the proverb denounces as being not 
only dishonest, but also foolish, etc. — T. Adams 
(on ver. 9): Mocking is the medium or connec- 
tion that brings together the fool and sin; thus 
he makes himself merry ; they meet in mockery. 
Through many degrees men climb to that height 
of impiety. This is an extreme progress, and 
almost the journey's' end of wickedness. — Arnot 
(on ver. 10) : Tiie solitude of a human being in 
either extremity of the experiences of the human 
heart is sublime and solemnizing. Whether you 
are glad or grieved, you must be alone. — (On ver. 
12): The result accords not with the false opi- 
nion, but with the absolute truth of the case. 
There is a way which is right, whatever it may 
seem to the world, and the end thereof is life. 
God's way of coming to us in mercy is also our 
way of coming to Him in peace. — (On ver. 15) : 
Trust is a lovely thing; but it cannot stand un- 
less it get truth to lean upon. — John Howe (on 
ver. 14) : The good man is not the first fountain 
of happiness to himself, but a subordinate one a 
good man is, and so is satisfied from himself — a 
fountain fed from a higher fountain — by deriva- 
tion from Him who is all in all, and more inti- 
mate to us than we ourselves. But the wicked 
man is the prime and first fountain of all misery 
to himself. — Flavel : The upright is satisfied 
from himself, that is, from his own conscience, 
which, though it be not the original spring, yet 
is the conduit at which he drinks peace, joy and 
encouragement. — R. South (on ver. 18) : 30th 
of Posthumous Sermons]. 

Ver. 18-25. Zeltner (on ver. 19) : Bear pa- 
tiently the pride, of the ungodly ; it lasts not 
long. — Starke (on vers. 20, 21) : The many 
promises that God will graciously reward kind- 
ness to the poor must make the Christian joyous 
and willing in labors of love. — (On ver. 22): 
Virtue and piety reward those who cherish them, 
but vices and sins cause nothing but pain and 
trouble. — Geier (on ver. 23) : Prating and 
boastful men are like an empty vessel : if one 
strike it, it does indeed give forth a sound, but 
for all that nothing goes in. — (On ver. 25) : Be 
intent upon truth in thy words, gestures, acts, 
and in thy whole wulk. 

Vers. 26-35. Starke (on ver. 28) : It is the 
duty of the lords of the land to see to it that 
their land be well cultivated, and in particular 
that "mercy and truth dwell in the land, right- 
eousness and peace kiss each other " (Ps. Ixxxv. 
11). — (On ver. 29): Impatience opposes the will 
of God, and is therefore the greatest folly. — (On 
ver. 30) : Passion and wrath shorten the life, and 
care makes old before one's time. — (On ver. 31) ; 
Despise no man, be he ever so humble, for thou 



knovvest not but in that act thou art despising a 
true child of God. — (On ver. 32) : There is surely 
a future life to be hoped for after death ; other- 
wise how could the righteous bo so comforted in 
their death ? — (On ver. 34) : Sin is the cause of 
all misery under the sun. — (On ver. 35): If the 
fidelity of his subjects is pleasing to a king, how 
nmch more will God take pleasure if one serves 
Him faithfully and with the whole heart, through 
the strength of Jesus Christ! — [Arnot (on ver. 
25) : The safety provided for God's children is 
confidence in Himself, the strong tower into whicli 
the righteous run. — (On ver. 31) : The necessary 
dependence of human duty upon Divine faith. — 
S. D.wiES (on ver. 32): 1) Every righteous man 
has a substantial reason to hope, whether he 

clearly see it or not ; 2) Good men in common do 
in fact enjoy a comfortable hope ; 3) The hope 
which the righteous hath shall be accomplished. 
— Saurin (on ver. 34) : As there is nothing in 
religion to counteract the design of a wise system 
of civil polity, so there is nothing in a wise sys- 
tem of civil government to counteract the design 
of the Christian religion. The exaltation of the 
nation is the end of civil polity. Righteousness 
is the end of religion, or rather is religion itself. 
— Emmons (on ver. 34) : It is the nature of sin 
1) to lessen and diminish a people; 2) to sink 
and depress the spirit of a people ; 3) to destroy 
the wealth of a people ; 4) to deprive them of 
the blessings of freedom ; 5) to provoke the dis- 
pleasure of God and draw down His judgments.] 

t) With reference to various other relations and callings in life, especially within the sphere of 

the religious life. 

Ch.\p. XV. 

1 A soft answer turneth away wrath, 
but a bitter word stirreth up anger. 

2 The tongue of the wise maketh knowledge attractive, 
but the mouth of fools poureth forth folJy. 

3 The eyes of Jehovah are in every place, 
beholding the wicked and the good. 

4 A mild tongue is a tree of life, 

but transgression therewith is a wound in the spirit 

5 The fool despiseth his father's correction, 
but he that regardeth reproof is wise. 

6 In the house of the righteous is a great treasure, 
but in the gain of the wicked is trouble. 

7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge, 
but the heart of fools (doeth) not so. 

8 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination to Jehovah, 
but the prayer of the upright is his delight. 

9 An abomination to Jehovah is the way of the wicked, 
but he loveth him that searcheth after righteousness. 

10 There is sharp correction for him that forsaketh the way ; 
he that hateth reproof must die. 

11 Hell and the world of the dead are before Jehovah, 
how much more the hearts of the sons of men? 

12 The scorner liketh not that one reprove him; 
to wise men will he not go. 

13 A joyous heart maketh a cheerful countenance, 
but in sorrow of the heart the spirit is stricken, 

14 An understanding heart seeketh after knowledge, 
^ but the face of fools feedeth on folly. 

15 All the days of the afflicted are evil, 

but he that is of a joyful heart — a perpetual feast. 

16 Better is little with the fear of Jehovah 
than great treasure and trouble with it. 

CHAP. XV. 1-33. 147 

17 Better is a dish of herbs, when love is there, 

than a fatted ox and hatred with it. ^ 

18 A passionate man stirreth up strife, 

but he that is slow to anger allayeth contention. 

19 The way of the slothful is as a hedge of thorns, 
but the path of the righteous is a highway. 

20 A wise son maketh a glad father, 

but a foolish man despiseth his mother. 

21 Folly is joy to him that lacketh wisdom. 

but the man of understanding goeth straight forward. 

22 Failure of plans (cometh) where there is no counsel, 
but by a multitude of counsellors they come to pass. 

23 A man hath joy through the answer of his mouth, 
and a \vord in due season, how good is it ! 

24 An upward path of life is the way of the wise 
to depart from hell beneath. 

25 The house of the proud will Jehovah destroy, 
and he will establish the border of the widow. 

26 An abomination to Jehovah are evil devices, 
but pure (in his sight) are gracious words. 

27 He troiibleth his own house that seeketli unjust gain, 
but he that hateth gifts shall live. 

28 The heart of the righteous studieth to answer, 
the mouth of the wicked poureth forth evil. 

29 Jehovah is far from the wicked, 

but the prayer of the righteous he heareth. 

30 A friendly look rejoiceth the heart, 
good tidings make the bones fat. 

31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life 
will abide among the wise. 

32 He that refuseth correction despiseth himself, 

but he that heedeth reproof gptteth understanding. 

33 The fear of Jehovah is a training to wisdom, 
and before honor is humility. 


Yer. 1. — [3V J^-")3T undoubtedly means wratliful words, bitter words ; Ges. reaches this through a snbjectiTe meaning 

of 3i*>'. labor, pain to the wrathful spirit; Fuerst takes the objective, cutting words, that cause pain to their victim; 
the latter retains most of the radical meauing of the verb. — A.] 

Ver. 2. — y £0''ili lit-, maketh knowledge good ; but the radical idea of the Heb. 31£J is that which is good to the sense, 

especially sight; therefore bright, brilliant, — and afterward, that which is agreeable to other senses, hearing, taste, ete. 
The etymological meaning here best suits the sense "make knowlerlge appear attractive.'" — A.] 

Ver. 5. — [BiiiT. (g 10.>5, III.), commenting on the three passages where the defective form D"^>'' occurs, proposes as 
the probable reading D^J?^. — A.] 

Ver. 6. — m^JTJ (from 1D^', chap. xi. 29) is a neuter partic. used substantively in the sense of ruin, destruction; 

comp. iu Is. X. 23 ni'lH J, and also nO-IDO in ver. 16 below. 
T T •.■; / T : 

[Ver. 7. — Masc. verb with the fem. TlUti;, as in ver. 2; x. 21, 32.] 

Ver. 9.— [BoTT. (g 412, 3) suggests rhythmical reasons for the peculiar and solitary form 3nX', usually ^HX'- Comp. 
Green, 3112, 5, c— A.] 

Ver. 15.— The construction is elliptical; 37-31D is logically a genitive limiting the 'O' of clause a, and nptVO 'S a 
predicate to it: "the days of him who is cheerful in heart are a feast," etc. Comp. Hitzig on the passage. 

Ver. 21.— The Infiu. i\2l without S made dependent on the verb '\]3^^ (Ewald, Lehrh.,^28b,a.) 

Ver. 22. — The Infin. abs. 1371 is here naturally prefixed, instead of the finite verb, as e. g., in xii. 7. [Active used In- 

'• T 

Stead of passive, with an indefinite subject, in Iliphil and Piel as well as Kal. infinitives. See Bottcher, g 990, 
1, a.— A.] 

Ver. 25. — Instead of 32f'1 we must with IIiTZio, t'c, and in accordance with the anc. versions read 3V1 ; for the 

optative rendering "and let him establish," etc. (Bertheau) does not agree with the parallelism. [Bott. regards it aa 
a Jussive, expressing that necessity which is seen to be involved in the moral order of the world (§964, 7). — A.] 




1. Vers. 1-7. Against sins of the tongue of va- 
rious kinds. — A soft ans-wer turneth away 
wrath, — lit., " bi-ingotii orturnelii back passion," 
comp. Is. ix. 11, IG, 20. The opposite of tliis 
" turning back "' or '• beating down " the violence 
of wrath is the "stirring it up," causing wrath 
to flash up or blaze out. Comp. Eccles. x. 4; 
Ps. xviii. 8, 9. — With the use of the epithet 
"soft, gentle" C^^), comp. xxv. 15. — "A bitter 
word" (see critical notes) is more exactly "a word 
of pain," i. e., a smarting, otfensive, violent word 
such as the passionate or embittered man speaks. 

Ver. 2. The tongue of the w^ise maketh 
knowledge attractive, lit., "maketh know- 
leilge good" (see critical notes); i.e., presents 
knowledge in apt, well arranged and winning 
Avays (comp. xxx. 29; Is. xxiii. 10). In contrast 
with this "the fool's mouth poureth forth folly," 
i. (?., in its repulsively confused and noisy utter- 
ances, brings to view not wisdom and true dis- 
cernment, but only folly. "Poureth forth," a 
decidedly sti'onger expression than "proclaim- 
eth," chap. xii. 23. 

Ver. 3. Comp. 2 Chron. xvi. 9 ; Ecclesiast. xv. 
19; xvii. 16; xxiii. 28; also Ps. cxxxix. 1 sq.; 
Matt. X. 80; Ileb. iv. 13. 

Ver. 4. Gentleness of the tongue is a tree 
of life. — With this use of fae noun rendered 
"gentleness" (not "health") comp. xiv. 30, and 
for the expression "tree of life," xi. 30. — But 
transgression therew^ith is a w^ound in the 

spirit. — The noun ']7p probably does not here 
mean "perverseness" (Bertheau, 'E. Y., etc.), 
but apparently "trespass, transgression," which 
seems to be its meaning also in chap. xi. 3 (comp. 
Hitzig). Transgression with the tongue is, 
however, probably not here falsehood (Luther, 
and the older commentators ; comp. Ewald, 
"falling with the tongue"), but its misuse in the 
exciting of strife and contention, and so "irrita- 
tion, excitement" (Umbreit, Elster). "A 
wound in the spirit," t. e., disturbance and de- 
struction by restless passion of the regulated and 
normal state of the spirit; comp. Is. Ixv. 14. — 
Hitzig conjectures a corruption of the text, and 
therefore translates the second clause in partial 
accordance with the LXX, Syriac and Chaldec 
versions, "and whoso eateth its fruit (the tree 
of life), stretchcth himself comfortably (! ?)." 
[RrEETscui (as before cited, p. 143) carries the 
idea of gentleness through the two clauses as the 
central idea; "it is precisely with this gentle 
speech which otherwise does so much good, that 
the wicked is wont to deceive, and then one is 
by this more sorely and deeply stricken and dis- 
tressed than before." — A.] 

Ver. 5. Comp. i. 7; xiii. 1. — But he that 
regardeth reproof is wise (reproof on the 
part of his fathei-. or in general from his pa- 
rents). For this verb, " is wise, prudent, deal- 
eth prudently," comp. xix. 2'); 1 S.ini. xxiii. 22. 
— Ver. G. In the house of the righteous is a 
great treasure, — lit., "house of the righteous," 
jirobably an accusative of place. The treasure 
stored up in such a house is the righteousness 
that prevails in it, a source and pledge of abiding 

prosperity. [Holden and some others make tha 
earthly treasure too prominent, as though the 
direct teaching of the verse were that " temporal 
prosperity attends the righteous." We find in 
the verse rather an import tliat holds equally 
good in the absence of outward abundai\ce. — A.] 
The direct opposite of this is the " trouble " that 
is found in the gains of the wicked. — Ver. 7. 
With clause a compare x. 31. [A rendering of 
llf is urged by PiUeetsciii, that is more in keep- 
ing with its general import, and particularly ita 
meaning in chap. xx. 8, 26, viz.: to "sift," or 
" winnow;" the lips of the wise .sift knowledge, 
separating the chaff, preserving the pure grain. 
— .A.] — But the heart of fools (doeth) not so, 
i. e., with him it is quite otherwise than with the 
heart of the wise man which spreads abroad 
Avisdom and knowledge; a suggestion, brief in- 
deed b\it very expressive, of the mighty differ- 
ence between the influences that go J'otth from 
the wise man and the fool. Hitzig, to avoid- 

this interpretation of |D~N7, which, as he thinks, 
is "intolerably flat," explains the expression in 
accordance with Is. xvi. ti, by "that which is 
not so as it is asserted to be," and therefore by 
"error or falsehood ;" he therefore takes this as 
an accusative object to the verb "spread 
abroad," wliich is to be supplied from clause a. 
The LXX and Syr. adopt still another way, ac- 
cording to which |3 is an adjective Avith the 
meaning "sure, right," — "the fool's heart is not 
sure," not certain of its matters, and therefore 
incompetent to teach others (so also Bertheau). 
This last explanation is doubtless possible, and 
yet the first seems at all events the simplest and 
most obvious. [This is also the rendering of the 
E. v., etc.; S'., N., M., W. agree substantially 
Avith the last view, but differ in the grammatical 
connection of the word "sound, right," S. and 
M. making it a predicative epithet, N. and W. 
making it the object, "Avhat is not sound," 

2. Vers. 8-15. Of God's abhorrence of the 
wicked heart of the ungodly. — With ver. 8 comp. 
xxi. 27 ; xxviii. 9 ; also ver. 29 below. "Sacri- 
fice" and "prayer" are not here contrasted as 
the higher and the lower [so Burgon, quoted by 
Wordsworth] ; but "sacrifice" is a gift to God, 
"prayer" is desiring from Him. Comp. Is. i. 
11, 15, and besides passages like Hos. vi. 6; 
Mic. vi. 6-8; Jer. vii. 21 ; Ps. xl. 6 (7); li. 17 
(18), etc. — Ver. 9 stands in the relation, as it; 
were, of an explanation of or a reason for ver. 
8; comp. xi. 20; xii. 22. — But he loveth 
him that searcheth after righteousness. — 
"Searcheth after" ["pursueth," as it were, 
Piel part.], stronger than "foUoweth," chap, 
xxi. 21 ; comp. xi. 19; also Deut. xvi. 20; Ps. 
xxxiv. 14 (15). 

Ver. 10. (There is) sharp correction for him 
that forsaketh the Ajvay, lit., "is to the one 
forsaking the path," i. c, the man that turns 
aside from the right Avay (comp. ii. 13). — He 
that hateth reproof must die, — lit., "will 
die." Comp. Rom. viii. 13. This "death" is 
the very " sharp correction " mentioned in the 
first clause, just as he who hates correction is 
identical with the man who forsakes the 

CHAP. XV. 1-33. 


way. Comp. x. 17:— Ver. 11. Hell (Sheol) 
and the world of the dead are before Je- 
hovah, — /. e., are not concealed from Uim, 
lie open and uncovered before His view, couip. 
Ps. cxsxix. 8; Job xxvi. 6. In the latter passage 
p13X, lit. " place of destruction, abyss of the 
pit " stands, as it does here, as a syuouyin of 
Sheol; so likewise in Prov. xxvii. 120 — How 
much more ('J3 '^i* as in xi. 37) the hearts 
of the sons of men; comp. Jer. xvii. 10: 
Hjb. iv. lo. — Observe furthermore how this pro- 
verb also stands related to the next preceding, 
giving its reason, as in vers. 8 and 9. 

Vor. 12. To wise men doth he not go ; 
among them ha will find deliverance from his 
folly — by stern reproof, it is true, and censure 
and reprimand ; comp. xiii. 1, 20. Hitzig un- 
necessarily proposes to read, with the LXX, 
" with " instead of "to," "with wise men he 
doth not associate." 

Ver. 13. A joyous heart maketh the 
countenance cheerful. — The verb '• maketh 
good" (ver. 2), "maketh pleasnnt" is here 
equivalent to " brighteneth." — Bat in sor- 
row of the heart is the spirit stricken. — 
Others, Umbreit, IIitzu;, e(c., render " is tiie 
breath oppressed, made laborious." It is true 
that iu this way there is proiluced a better pa- 
rallelism with the "cheerful countenance" in 
clause a. But in chap. xvii. 22 also (comp. Isa. 
Ixvi. 2) a "broken spirit" is described by this 
phrase, and not a labored breathing; and in- 
stances in which, instead of the outward effect, 
the inward cause which underlies it is named in 
the second clause, are by no means unknown 
elsewhere ; comp. x. 20 ; xii. 22, etc. 

Ver. 1-1. With clause a compare xiv. 33. — 
The face of fools feedeth on folly. — The 
K'ri and the ancient versions read ^2 (mouth) 

instead of \JD (face) for which reason many 
moderns adopt the same reading, e.g., Berthold 
[De W., Bertheacj, E V , S., N., M., H., who 
plead not only the authority of the Versions, but 
the singular number in the verb, and the greater 
naturalness of the expression]. But as in Ps. 
xxvii. 8, a " seeking " is predicated of the face 
[according to the rendering of Hitzig, in which 
he stands almost alone, "seek him, my face," — 
while the vast majoi-ity of interpreters make 
God's face the object sought], so here there 
might very fitly be ascribed to the face a " feed- 
ing on something," a pasci, especially as this verb is 
here employed only in a figurative Wiiy, to denote 
dealing with a matter (comp. xiii. 20). [Fuerst 
(Lex., sub verbo) takes the verb in quite a different 
sense; he makes a second radical meaning to be 
"to unite with," and then "to delight in." He 
also recognizes distinctly the use of tliis plural 
noun with verbs in the singular. See also 
NoKDHEiMER. Heh. Gram. § 7-59, 3, a. — .\.] 

Ver. 15. All the days of the afflicted 
are evil. — 'J>» is here not the outwardly dis- 
tressed, the poor, but the inwardly burdened 
ami attiicted, as the parallel in clause b shows. — 
But he that is of a joyful heart (hath) a 
perpetual feast, — or, a perpetual feast are liis 
days. The meaning of the verse is a tolerably 
exact parallel to ver. 13. [To this view of the | 

ver. RuEETSCHi (as above, p. 144) objects that the 
very general usus loquendl refers 'JJ^ to out- 
ward circumstances, and when inward condi- 
tions are described by this term it is never iu 
the way of depreciation, other terms being used 
to describe distress. He renders " all the days 
of a poor man are (indeed) evil (in regard to his 
outward circumstances) ; but whosoever is of a 
joyful heart has (nevertheless) a continual 
feast." — A.]. 

3. Vers. 16-23. Of various other virtues and 
vices. — With 1(5, a, comp. chap. xvi. 8. — Than 
great treasure and trouble with it. — 
Trouble, &6pvi3or, here probably not the anxiety 
which apprehends losing tiie treasure again 
(Beutue.\u), but the care which accumulated 
the wealtli, and constantly seeks to increase it, 
I's. xxxix. 6 (7), (Hitzig) [Rueetsciii observing 
the more general use of the noun, undei'stands it 
to refer to the confusion and disorder in human 
society attendant upon riches without the fear 
of God.— A. 1. 

Ver. 17. Better is a dish of herbs, -wrhen 
love is there, — liierally, "a portion of 
green," i. e., vegetables (.Jer. xl. 5; Hi. 24; 2 
Kings XXV. 30). Vegetables represent simple 
fare in general (comp. Dan. i. 2), while me;it, as 
always and every where in the East, is holiday 
fare, especially the flesh of fatted oxen (Luke 
XV. 23, 30). — Observe, furthermore, how the 
verse before us exhibits on the one hand a mean- 
ing exactly parallel to the preceding, while on 
the other hand it presents a climax to its ideas 
(fear of God — love to one's neighbor; trouble — 
hate). — As a substantial parallel compare the 
proverb in Meidani 11.422: " Want with love 
is better than hatred with riches." — With ver. 
18 comp. above, ver. 1, as also xxvi. 21 ; xxviii. 
25; xxix. 22; Ecclesiast. xxviii. 11-13. 

Ver. 19. The way of the slothful is as a 
hedge of thorns, i. e., because he is always en- 
countering obstacles and hinderiinces, does not 
come away having accomplished his life's work, 
but must find his foot every where entangled and 
kept back. [The special aptness of this figure in 
Palestine is amply illustrated in Hackett's 
Scripture Illustrations, Thomson's The Land and 
the Book, etc. — .\]. It is otherwise with the 
"upright," i. e., the man who unmoved and un- 
remitting goes about the performance of his duty, 
and continues with vigorous efficiency in the 
work of his calling. His way is, according to 
clause b, "built up," i. e., lit. raised by throw- 
ing up a ridge (Isa. Ivii. 14; Ixii. 10; .Jer. xviii. 
15, etc.), a way which leads easily and surely to 
its end. — Hitzig without any necessity reads 

V'^j; for 7i'>', to obtain as he thinks a more 

' • T •■ T 

appropriate antithesis to the word " upright," 
(Dnt^;). But that the slothful may be very fitly 
contrasted with the upright or righteous, ap- 
pears abundantly from proverbs like x. 26 ; 
xxviii. 19 ; vi. 10, etc. 

Ver. 20. With clause a comp.ive the literally 
identical first half of x. 1. — But a foolish 
man, lit. "a fool of a man;" comp. xxi. 20, 
and the similarly constructed expression "a 
wild ass of a man," Gen. xvi. 12. Bertheau 
wrongly renders " the most foolish of men." 



Ver. 21. Folly (here unreasonable conduct, 
senseless action) is joy to him that lacketh 
wisdom. Coinp. x. 1^3. — Goeth straight 
forward, lit. " maketli straight to go." Going 
straight forward is naturally acting rightly in 
moral and religious matters. 

Ver. 22. (There is) Failure of plans where 
there is no counsel. Literally, " a breaking 
of plans " is, conies to pass, "where no counsel 
is." For the meaning couip. xi. 14, especially 
also with respect to clause b. — They come to 
pass, i.e., the plans. The singular of the verb 
is used in the Heb. distributively, as in chap. iii. 
18 (see notes thtre). 

Ver. 23. A man hath joy through the 
answer of his mouth, and a word in due 
season, how good is it! That the second 
clause cannot be antithetic to the first_ (HiT- 
zig), but stands as its explanation or its cli- 
max is evident ; for the "word in its time" is 
just the "answer" of clause a, exciting joy be- 
cause apt and exactly meeting the inquiry. — 
Comp. furthermore parallels like x. 20, 81, 
32, etc. 

4. Vers. 24-33. Of several other virtues espe- 
cially of the religious life.— An upward path 
of life is the way of the wise; lit. "a 
path of life upward is to the wise," i. e., the 
roan of understanding walks in a way which as 
a way of life leads ever upwai-d, to ever higher 
degrees of moral purity, elevation and power, 
but also in the same ratio to an ever-increasp'.ng 
prosperity. A reference to heaven as the final 
limit of this upward movement of the life of the 
righteous is so far forth indirectly included, as 
the antithesis to the "upward;" the "hell be- 
neath " (hell downwards, hell to which one tends 
downwai-d), suggests a hopeless abode in the 
dark kingdom of the dead, as the final destina- 
tion of the sinner's course of life. Therefore we 
have here again the idea of future existence and 
retribution (comp. xi. 7 ; xiv. 32)— -a meaning 
Avhich Bertheau and Hitzig seek in vain to take 
from the proverb. Comp. Elstek on this pas- 

Ver. 25. The of the proud will 
Jehovah destroy. For the verb comp. ii. 
22. By "house" is here meant not the mere 
dwelling, but also the family of the proud, just 
as in xiv. 11 : compare also xiv. 1. — And es- 
tablisheth the border of the w^idow^, i. e., 
the innocent widow who is in danger of being 
wronged by the proud through encroachment 
upon her borders. Comp. moreover with this 
expression Deut. xxxii. 8. 

Ver. 26. Compare xi. 20. — But pure (in 
His sight) are gracious words, here pro- 
bably specifically wordssweetly consoling, words 
of love and compassion toward troubled souls, 
comp. xvi. 24. Such words are in Jehovah's 
judgment pure or precious, i.e., with a pure and 
genuine ring; comp. Ps. xix. 8, 9 (9, 10). — Hit- 
zig proposes instead of D-llHt] to read D'/StO 

[adhere, cleave] from which comes the meaning 
strengthening the antithesis of the parallel: 
" and pleasant words cleave fast (?)." 

Ver. 27. He troubleth his own house 
that seeketh unjust gain. For the last ex- 
pression "tpoileth spoil, " i. e., goes after unlaw- 

ful gains, seeks plunder, comp. i. 19; for the 
former phrase " disturb or trouble the house," 
xi. 29. The sentence as a whole seems to be 
aimed especially at unjust judges, who are will- 
ing to be bribed by gifts, in contrast with the 
judge that " hates gifts," and so is incorruptible 
and unchangeably upright; comp. xxviii. 16. 

Ver. 28. The heart of the righteous 
studieth to answer, i. e., reflects upon its 
answers with all care, that it may utter no- 
thing evil or perverse, while the wicked thought- 
Ijssly "pours forth" his evil and perverse 
tlioughts (pours forth, conjp. ver. 2) ; compare 
JVlaith. xii. 35. — With ver. 29 comp. ver. 8. 

Ver. 80. A friendly look rejoiceth the 
heart. Lit. " lustre of the eyes :" it denotes, 
like the "light of the countenance" in chap, 
xvi. 15, the cheerful beaming of the eye of 
the friendly, which exerts on one's neighbor 
also an influence refreshing to the heart, espe- 
cially at the time when, as clause b indicates, it 
communicates a " good message," " joj'ful 
tidings " (comp. xxv. 25). For this " rich unur- 
rishing of the bones " (lit., making fat), comp. 
xi. 28; xiii. 4: also xvi. 24. — In this conception 
of the verse which is the simplest and on all 
sides well guaranteed, according to which clause 
b only defines more exactly the import of clause 
a, there is no need either of giving an objective 
cast to the idea of "brightness to the eye," as 
though it meant " friendly recognition " ( Lu- 
ther, De Wette, Bertheau), or of changing 
I'lXp to n;O0 (Hitzig). 

Ver. 31. The ear that heareth the re- 
proof of life, i. e., reproof which has true 
life for its end, which points out the way to it, 
and for that very reason already in advance has 
life in itself and imparts it. — Will abide 
among the vrise, i. e., will itself become 
wise (xiii. 20), and therefore permanently be- 
longs to the circle of the wise. For this verb to 

" abide" {]'^), lit- to P^-ss the night, i. e., to 
tarry long at some place, comp. Ps. xxv. 13; 
xlix. 12 (18) ; Job xix. 4. The ear here stands 
by synecdoche for the hearer, as in Job xxix. 
11 ; Ex. X. 26; 1 Kings xix. 18. 

Ver. 32. He that refuseth correction de- 
spiseth himself, lit. "undervalues, lightly 
values his soul," in so far as he does not en- 
sure life, in so far as, without knowing and 
willing it, ho loves death more than life (comp. 
viii. 36).— But he that heedeth reproof 
getteth understanding ; comp. iv. 5, 7 ; 
xvi. 16. The man who " getteth understand- 
ing" is, however, according to xix. 8 the very 
man who does not hate Lis own soul but loves 

Ver. 33. With clause a compare i. 7; ix. 10. — 
And before honor is humility. Humility 
here plainly appears as the necessary correlate 
to the fear of God, and as a chief manifestation 
of wisdom, which is elsewhere named as that 
which confers honor, e. g., iii. 16 ; viii. 18. Com- 
pare xviii. 12, b, where the second clause of the 
verse before us occurs again — The entire verse, 
by virtue of its somewhat general character, is 
equally well adapted to close a long series of 
proverbs, ami to open a new section. It is i here- 
fore unnecessary, as Hnzia does, to transfer it 

CHAP. XV. 1-33. 


to the following chapter, and to regard it as a 
sort of superscription to the second half of that 
division of the Book of Proverbs in which we 
now are (chap, xvi.-xxii.). 


Among the proverbs of the chapter before us, 
which hardly admit of a grouping according to 
any well-established, clearly conspicuous prin- 
ciple of classification (comp. the four divisions 
which are distinguished in the " Exegeiical 
Notes:" vers. 1-7; 8-15; 16-23; 24-33), several 
stand out as of no slight theological and soterio- 
logical importance, — especially the beautiful re- 
ference to the omniscience of God, tiie holy and 
righteous lluler, in ver. 3 and ver. 11, — and the 
twice repeated emphasizing of the religious 
vv'orthlessness of outward shows of reverence for 
God, without true devotion and consecration in 
the heart, vers. 8 and 29. The last mentioned 
truth is among the favorite ideas of the enlight- 
ened prophetic teachers and men of God in the 
Old Testament ; (compare the parallel passages 
cited above in connection with vers. 8). It lets 
the clear light of that evangelical saving grace, 
which was already operative under ihe economy 
of the law, but which only in Christ rose as a 
full-orbed sua, snine with quite peculiar bright- 
ness on the dark ground of Old Tosuimont hfe. 
In this connection there is, it is true, the dis- 
tinction to be made (noticed above under ver. 8) 
between "sacrifice" and "prayer;" that thj 
former term describes a gift brought to God, the 
latter a desire directed to Him. Yet this is by no 
means an essential difference ; for both, sacrifice 
and prayer, which indeed falls likewise under 
the category of offering in the broadest sense 
(Ps. cxix. lOS; Heb. xiii. 15), come under con- 
sideration here only as general tokens of reve- 
rence for God ; and the value of both is clearly 
defined by this test, whether the state of heart in 
those who bring them is or is not well pleasing 
to God (comp. Isa. xxix. 13; Mitt. xv. 7 sq.) ; 
in other words, whether the offering brought is 
a purely outward act, or the fruit of a sincere 
self-consecration of the entire personality in spi- 
rit and in truth, a " reasonable service" in the 
sense of Rom. xii. 1. 

Closely related to the scope of these proverbs 
is what was said above, on ver. 17, of the worth- 
lessness of outward shows of beneficence, espe- 
cially free hospitality without inward love (comp. 
1 Cor. xiii. 2). — Furthermore a specially serious 
consideration is due to the warnings against low 
greed and avarice, as leading, nevertheless, to 
the destruction of one's own home : ver. 6 and 
27 ; to the repeated allusions to the necessity that 
one readily submit himself to reproof and cor- 
rection for his faults : vers. 5, 10, 12, 31, 3-2 ; to 
the beautiful commendation of humility as the 
first step to true honor: ver. 33; and finally to the 
reiterated reference to the righteous judgment 
of God, which reaches its completion only in the 
life to come : ver. 25 (see notes on this passage). 


Homily on the en/ire chapter: Right sensibi- 
lity or a pure heart the only true service of God 

(1 Sam. XV. 22), demonstrated 1) in good and 
perverse conduct with the mouth and tongue 
(ver. 1-7); 2) in proper worship or the religious 
life (ver. 8-15) ; 3) in the intercourse of man 
with his neigUbors (vers. 16-33). — Or again; 
Love (lo God and men) as the germ and the true 
norm of all religious rectitude (Hos. vi. 6; Matt, 
ix. 13; xii. 7). — Comp. Stocker: How true pru- 
dence (wisdom) must guard man against sins 1) 
of the tongue (1-9); 2) of the heart and the 
hands (10-22) ; 3) against other sins of various 
kinds (23-33). — In a similar v/ay Wohlfartu: 
The effect of prudence ; a means of guarding 
one's self against sins of various kinds. 

Ver. 1-7. Starke (on vers. 1, 2) ; when ge- 
nuine piety exists there will not be wanting other 
manifestations of friendliness and gentleness. 
Kvcu where there is occasion for earnestness in 
the punishment of transgressions, a friendly 
spirit must still be combined with it. Ear- 
nestness without friendship profits as little as 
friendliness without earnestness. — Geier (on 
ver. 3) : If God knows all things then He 
knows also His children's need, and is intent 
on their help and deliverance. — (On ver. 5) : 
If even to the most capable and powerful spirits 
there is still nee I of good discipline and in- 
struction, how much more to the indolent and 
drowsy ! — (On ver. 6) ; In connection with tem- 
poral blessings be intent upon righteousness in 
their attainment, contentment in their possession, 
prudence and system in their employment, sub- 
mission in their loss! — [Ar.n'OT (on ver. 1): 
Truth alone may be hated, and love alone de- 
spised ; man will flee from the one and trample 
on the other ; but when truth puts on love, and 
love leans on truth, in that hallowed partnership 
lies the maximum of moral power within the 
reach of man in the present world. — Trapp (on 
ver. 6) : Every righteous man is a rich man, 
whether he hath more or less of the things of 
this life. For, first, he hath plenty of that which 
is precious. >Seco?jc2/j/, propriety : what he hath 
is his own]. 

Vers. 8-19. Cr.amer (on ver. 8) : It is not 
works that make the man good, but when the 
man is justified, then his works are also good ; 
God in His grace makes well-pleasing to Himself 
the works that come of faith, even though great 
imperfections still mingle with them. — Starke 
(on ver. 11) : The doctrine of God's omniscience 
is already in the -Old Testament revealed fre- 
quently enough, and so clearly that no one can 
excuse himself on the ground of ignorance con- 
cerning it. — (On ver. 12) : He is wise who gladly 
associates with those from whoin he can learn 
something, though it be disagreeable to the flesh 
to do so. — Zeltner (on vers. 13 sq. ) : He is the 
most prosperous man who possesses the treasure 
of a good conscience and seeks to preserve it ; he 
can always be joyful in God (Acts xxiv. 16). — 
Wohlfartu (vers. 13-17) : The joyous heart. 
What can all the good things of this earth profit 
us when our inner nature is in trouble and our 
countenance sad ? How rich are we, even with 
little earthly possession, if we only possess the 
one good of a conscience at peace, and a heart 
joyful in God I — Von Gerlach (on ver. 19) : 
The sluggard lets his paths grow over, i. e., his 
means of acquisition go to waste, and his re- 



sources decay. — [Chaiinock (on ver. 11): God 
knows the whole state of the dead — things that 
seem to be out of all being; He knows the 
thoughts of the devils and damned creatures, 
■whom He hath cast out of His care forever into 
the arms of His justice; much more is He ac- 
quainted with the thoughts of living men, 

Vers. 20-33. Hasius (on vers. 22, 23): Many 
eyes see more than one, and many souls think 
more than one; therefore never esteem thyself 
so wise that thou shouldst not seek others' coun- 
sel. ... A good thought on which one falls at 
the right time is not to be valued with much 
gold. — WoiiLFARTH ( on vers. 22-2d) : Important 
as it is in general that one testify the truth, as 

important is the way in which this is done. 

Von Geiilach (on ver. 24): The very direction 
of the way which the wise enters saves him from 
extreme disasters ; it leads toward God, toward 
the kingdom of eternal light, welfare and life. — 
(On ver. 33) : Honor one can attain in the way of 
truth only by giving honor to the Lord alone, 
i. e., by profound humility (1 Peter v. 6). — J. 
Lange : True humility consists not in all manner 
of outward gestures, but in the fact that one in 
perfect self-denial agree with the will of God, 
Luke i. 38.— [W. Bates (on ver. 33): Humility 
preserves the true and noble freedom of the 
mind of man, secures his dear liberty and peace- 
ful dominion of himself. This is the effect of 
excellent wisdom]. 

2. Admonition to a walk in the fear of God and obedience. 

Chap. XVL 1.— XXIL 16. 

a) Admonition to trust in God as the wise Ruler and Governor of the world. 

Chap. XVL 

1 Man's are the counsels of the heart, 
but the answer of the tongue is Jehovah's. 

2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, 
but Jehovah weigheth the spirits. 

3 Commit thy works to Jehovah, 
so will thy plans be established. 

4 Jehovah hath made every thing for its end, 
even the wicked for the day of evil. 

5 An abomination to Jehovah is every one who is proud in heart, 
assuredly he will not go unpunished. 

6 By mercy and truth is iniquity atoned, 

and through the fear of Jehovah one departeth from evil. 

7 If Jehovah hath pleasure in the ways of a man, 

he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. 

8 Better is a little with righteousness, 
than great revenues without right. 

9 Man's heart deviseth his way, 
but Jehovah directeth his steps. 

10 Decision belongeth to the lips of the king, 

in judgment his mouth speaketh not wickedly. 

11 The scale and just balances belong to Jehovah, 
His work are all the weights of the bag. 

12 It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness, 
for by righteousness is the throne established. 

13 A delight to kings are righteous lips, 
and he that speaketh uprightly is loved. 

14 The wrath of a king (is as) messengers of death, 
but a wise man appeaseth it. 

15 In the light of the king's countenance is life, 
and his favor is as a cloud of the latter rain. 

16 To gain wi.'^dom — how mucli better is it than gold ! 
and to attain understanding to be preferred to silver! 

CHAP. XVI. 1-33. 163 

17 The path of the upright departeth from evil; 

he preserveth his soul that giveth heed to his way. 

18 Before destruction coraeth pride, 
and before a fall a haughty spirit. 

19 Better is it to be humble with the lowly, 
than to divide spoil witli the pruud. 

20 Pie that giveth heed to the word findeth good, 
and he who trusteth Jehovah, blessed is he! 

21 The wise in heart shall be called prudent, 
and grace on the lips increaseth learning. 

22 Understanding is a fountain of life to him that hath it, 
but the correction of fools is folly. 

23 The heart of the wise maketh his mouth wise, 
and increaseth learniag upon his lips. 

2-4 As honey of the comb are pleasant words, 
sweet to the soul and health to the bones. 

25 There is a way that seemeth right to man, 
but its end are ways of death. 

26 The spirit of the laborer laboreth for him, 
for his mouth urgeth him on. 

27 A worthless man searcheth after evil, 
and on his lips is as it were scorching fire. 

28 A perverse man sendeth abroad strife, 
and a backbiter separateth friends. 

29 A violent man enticeth his neighbor, 

and leadeth him in a way that is not good. 

30 Shutting his eyes to devise mischief, 
biting his lips, he bringeth evil to pass. 

31 A crown of glory is the hoary head ; 

in the way of righteousness it shall be found. 

32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, 
and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. 

38 The lot is cast into the lap, 

but from Jehovah is all its decision. 


Ver. 1.— In Hin'O the p stands as simply synonymous with the S auctnris of the first clause. 

Ver. 3.— [A masc. verb agreeing with the fern, subject ^nJil/nD, which is less unnatural where the verb precedes; 
see BoXT., J 936, a.— A.J 

Ver. •!•— [^nj^'3 7 distinguished by the article and the daghesh as the noun HJ^'O with preposition and suffix, and 
not the comp. preposition JJ^O/ with a sulfix. See Green, Heb. Gram., g246, 2, a.— A.] 

Ver. 7.— [Dyi^j nipl'- Iniperl'. written t^t/ecityc. BiiTT. suggesls the proper reading as dSi!/' " absimilated " from 
the following X. See ? 1013 —A.J 

Ver. 13.— [Ordinarily feminine forms of adjectives are employed in Hebrew to supply the lack of neuter and abstract 
forms. Occasionally as i.i □''Ity niasc. forms are used in elevated style. See Bott., ^707, 2. — A.J 

Ver. 16.— [Both the masc. and fem. forms of the Infiu. constr. are here used, HJp and flUp, but with a masc. predi- 
cate, the Xiph. part. "ITI^J, which has here the meaning of the Latin part, in dus. BiJTT., §§990, 3, /3, and 997, 2, c— A.J 
Tor examples of the form HJp comp. xxi. 3; xxxi. 4. 

Ver. 19.— 7DK/ in n-n-Tpiy is here probably not to be regarded as the adjective, as in xxix. 23; Is. Ivii. 15 (so Ber- 

THEAU, Elster, and others regard it), but an Infinitive, which is therefore equivalent to Immiliari (Vulgate, comp. Ewald, 

XJmbreit, UiTZiG, efc.) For in the second clause an Infln. is the corresponding term : SSt^ pbn, " to divide spoil ;" 

comp. with this Is. liii. 12. [Fuerst, however (Lf.x., suh verbt), pronounces decidedly in favor of the adjective construc- 
tion. bcTT. regards it as au Infln., §DS7. 5, a. — A.] 

Ver. 20.— T3<jr\ appears in Neh. viii. 13 construed with Sx instead of S>' ; compare, however, for this interchange 
of Sx and Sj? chaps, xxix. 5; Jer. vi. 10, 19, etc. 

Ver. 27.— [TTiau/ is one of the few instances in which in the Masoretic punctuation a dual or plural form is disre- 
garded in the vocalization of the suffix. Cases of the opposite kind are not rare. Bott., i SS6, c. The LXX conform to 
theK'thibh.— A.J ' 



Ver. 28. — ?J"1J (ifiiBvpo's, Ecclesiast. v. l-l), is cognate with J"^J, a verb which in the Arabic means susurro, to 
It : • TT 


Ver. 30. — nV^', related to Di*J/'. clausit, is found only here in the Old Testament. [It is a gesture accompanying and 

T T ~ T 

expressive of crafty scheming; Fuerst, s. v.] 

Ver. 33. — For the impersonal use of the passive }0V with the accusative, comp. Gen. iv. 18; xvii. 6; Jos. vii. 15; Ps. 
Ixxii. 15, etc. 


1. Vers. 1-3. Of God as the wise disposer and 
controller of all things in general. — Man's are 
the counsels of the heart, but the answer 
of the tongue is Jehovah's. — The "answer 
of the tongue" might indeed of itself signify the 
answer corresponding to the tongue, i. e., the 
supplicating tongue, and so denote " the granting 
of man's request" (Elstbr, comp. Umbreit, Ber- 
THEAU, etc.) But since the heart with its hidden 
plans audcounsels (lit., "arrangements:" D'Jl^'^ 
equivalent to the more common fem. nU"^^), 
is here plainly contrasted with the tongue as the 
instrument in the disclosure of such plans (comp. 
X. 8; xiv. 20, and numerous exx.), therefore 
the " answer of the tongue" must here be "the 
movement and utterance of the tongue," and 
Jehovah comes into the account as the giver of 
right words, from which health and life go forth, 
as the dispenser of the wholesome " word in due 
season " (chap. xv. 23) ; comp. Matth. x. 19, 20; 
also Rom. viii. 26 ; 2 Cor. iii. 5. Luther there- 
fore renders correctly " But from the Lord 
cometh what the tongue shall speak;" in general 
HiTziG is also right, except that he would unne- 
cessarily read "to" Jehovah l''7 instead of 
■"•lO, and so thinks too exclusively of Jehovah 
merely as the judge of the utterances of man's 
tongue. The idea " j\Lin proposes, God dis- 
poses" (der Mm.sch deiikt, Gott lenkt), forms 
moreover quite as naturally the proper subject 
of discourse in the verse before us, as below in 
vers. 9 and 33. [Our English version sacrifices 
entirely the antithetic nature and force of the 
verse. — A.] 

Ver. 2. All the -ways of a man are pure 
in his o'wa eyes, i. e., according to his own 
judgment, comp. xii. 15. Lit., " sometliing 
cloaii ;" comp. Ewald, Lehrb., | 307, c. — But 
Jehovah weigheth the spirits, i. e., he tries 
them, not literally ponderable, with reference to 
their moral weight ; he wishes to test their moral 
competence. The "ways" and tlie "spirits" 
here stand contrasted as the outward action and 
the inward disposition ; comp. 1 Sam. xvi. 7. In 
the parallel passage, chap. xxi. 2, "hearts" 

(r\i3'7) occurs instead of " spirits " (nin^l) (com- 
pare also xxi. 12) and "right" ("lU'") instead of 
"clean" (^I). 

Ver. 3. Commit thy works to Jehovah. 
— For this phrase to "roll somotliing on some 
one," i. e., to commit and entrust it wholly to 
him. comp. Ps. xxii. 8 (9), also xxxvii. 5 (where 

7^' is used instead of 7X, "upon" instead of 
"to"). — So will thy plans be established, 
— i. e., thy thoughts and purposes, those accord- 
ing to which thou proposest to shape thy 

" works," will then have a sure basis and result. 
Comp. xix. 21 ; Ps. xc. 17. 

2. Vers. 4-9. God's wise and righteous admi- 
nistration iu respect to the rewarding of good and 
the punishment of evil. — Jehovah hath made 
everything for its end. — The noun HJ^'q here 
signifies, not "answer," as in ver. 1, or in xv. 1, 
23; but in general that which corresponds with 
the thing, the end of the thing. The suffix refers 
back to the "all, all things." The Vulgate ren- 
ders ''propter semel ipsum," but this would have 

1JJ^'27- [See critical notes. Bertheau, Kamph., 
Be W., N., S., M., etc., agree with our author iu 
the interpretation wliich is grammatically most 
defensible, and doctrinally least open to excep- 
tion. An absolute Divine purpose and control 
iu the creation and administration of the world 
is clearly announced, and also the strength of 
the bond that joins sin and misery. — A.] — > 
Even the wicked for the day of evil, i. e., 
to experience the day of evil, and then to receive 
His well merited punishment. It is not specifi- 
cally the day of final judgment that is directly 
intended (as though the doctrine here were that 
of a predestination of the ungodly to eternal 
damnation, as many of the older Reformed in- 
terpreters held), but any day of calamity what- 
soever, which God has fixed for the ungodly, 
whether it may overtake him in this or in the 
luture life. Comp. the "day of destruction," 
Job xxi. 30; the "day of visitation," Is. x. 3. 
[Molden's rendering "even the wicked He 
daily sustains," is suggested by his strong aver- 
sion to the doctrine of reprobation, but is not 
justified by the use of the Hebrew phrase, or by 
the slightest requirement or allowance in the 
parallelism. Liberal interpreters like Noves 
find not the slightest reason for following him. 

Ver. 5. With clause a compare xv. 9, 25, 26 ; 
with b, xi. 21. — In regard to the two verses in- 
terpolated by the LXX (and Vulgate) after ver. 
5, see HiTZKi on this passnge. 

Ver. 6. By mercy and truth is iniquity 
atoned. — " Mercy and truth" here unquestion- 
ably, as in chap. iii. 3 (where see notes), describes 
a relation of man to his neighbor, and not to God, 
as Bertheau maintains (see in reply to l)is view 
especially Hoffmann's Schri/lbcir., I., 518 sq.). 
[Nor is it God"s mercy and truth, as Holuen 
suggests]. Loving and faithful conduct towards 
one's neighbor is, however, plainly not in and 
of itself named as the ground of the expiation 
of sin, but only so far forth as it is a sign and 
necessary expression of a really penitent and 
believing disposition of heart, and so is a cor- 
relative to the fear of God, which is made pro- 
minent in the second clause; just as in the ex- 
pression of .lesus with reference to the sinning 
woman; Luke vii. 47 : eras in Isa. Iviii. 7; Dan. 
iv. 24, etc. — One departeth from evil, lit., 

CHAP. XVI. 1- 


" there is remaining far from evil," i. e., this 
is the result: so ver. 17. — "Evil" is here ac- 
cording to the parallelism moral evil (not misfor- 
tune, calamity, in conformity with vers. 4, 27, as 
HiTZiG holds). This is however mentioned here 
with an included reference to its necessary evil 
results and penalties; therefore, if one chooses, 
it is evil and calamity together ; comp. vers. 17. 
— With vers. 7 compare xxv. 21, 22, where as 
means to the conciliation of enemies there is 
mentioned the personal loving disposition of the 
man involved, who here appears as an object of 
the divine complacency. — With vers. 8 comp. xv. 
16 ; with clause b in particular, xiii. 23. — Ver. 
9. Man's heart devissth his way. The 
Piel of the verb here denotes a laborious consi- 
deration, a reflecting on this side and that. — 
But Jehovah directeth his steps. He de- 
termines them, gives them their direction, guides 
them (comp. notes on ver. 1, h). Umbreit, Bkr- 
THEAiT, EwALD, Elster, [Noyes, Stu.\rt,] "he 
makes them sure." But then another conjuga- 
tion (Pilel, I J''3') would probably have been ne- 
cessary, as in Ps. xxxvii. 23. For the Hiphil 
comp. moreover .Jer. x. 23. 

3. Vers. 10-15. Of kings as intermediate agents 
or instruments in God's wise administration of the 
world. — A divine decision belongeth to the 
lips of the king. DpP, oracular decision or 
prediction, here used in a good sense of a divine 
utterance [ejfafum divinum ; comp. in the Vulg., 
dioinalio). As representative of Jehovah, the 
supreme ruler and judge, a king, and especially 
the theocratic king of Israel, speaks words of 
divine validity and dignity (comp. Ps. Ixxxii. 6 ; 
John X. 34), which give an absolutely certain de- 
cision, particularly in contested judicial ques- 
tions. Therefore that continues true which the 
second clause asserts : In judgment his 
mouth doth not speak •wickedly. " He 
deceives not, sins not" is not possibly, a wish 
(" his mouth should not err in judgment," Um- 
breit, Bertheau). but "the passage rather lays 
down the principle : the King can do no wrong, 
in a narrower assertion of it, and with this dif- 
ference, that it is here no political fiction, but a 
believing conviction. Righteousness at least in 
the final resort was under the theocratic monar- 
chy of the Old Testament so absolute a demand 
of the idea, that one could not conceive it to be 
unrealized" (Hitzig). [We have here the theory 
of the king's relations and obligations, and a clear 
statement of the presumptions of which lie 
should, according to the divine order, have the 
benefit. These must be clearly overthrown by 
him, before the people are entitled to set them 
aside. Comp. Rom. xiii. 1, 2. Had this pro- 
verb been penned near the end, instead of near 
the beginning of the Jewish theocracy, it would 
have been difficult to avoid the suggestion that 
the ideal and the actual are often strangely, 
sharply at variance. — A.]. 

Ver. 11. The scale and just balances be- 
long to Jehovah. The proposition e.xpresses 
the idea of an ownership in Jehovah as the first 
cause : for like agriculture (Ecclesiast. vii. 15) 
God instituted weights and measures, as an in- 
dispensable ordinance and instrununt in just 
business intercourse. — His w^orks are all the 

weights of the bag. His weights the oriental 
merchant (in Persia, e. g., even at the present 
day) is wont to carry in a bag; comp. Dent. xxv. 
13; Mic. vi. 11. Stones were in preference em- 
ployed as weights because they do not wear away 
so easily, as iron, c. g., which from rusting easily 
changes its weight. Comp. Umbreit on this 
passage. Bertheau is quite too artificial. " His 
work is all of it stones of the bag, " i. e., is as 
sharply and accurately defined "as the smallest 
and finest weights (?)."— Vers. 12, 13. Two 
verses closely connected, expressing a single 
truth, which is brought out first negatively and 
then positively.— It is an abomination to kings 
to commit iniquity ; i. c, injustice practised or 
at least attempted by their subjects is an abomi- 
nation to them, representing, as they do, God 
and divine justice. Comp. ver. 10, and with 
clause b also especially xxv. 5. — And he that 
speaketh upriglitly is loved. For this use 
of the plur. masc. of ip'.', upright, which is 
therefore "upright things, uprightness," comp. 
Dan. xi. 17; also Job iv. 25. — The verb 2T^VC 


is either to be taken with an indefinite subject, 
" him one loveth," i.e., he is loved (Umbreit, 
Elster, etc.), or distributively, '' him he loveth," 
i. e., whoever is king for the time being. 

Vers. 14, 15. Verses in like manner closely 
connected, and essentially expressing but one 
thought. — The wrath of the king (is as) 
messengers of death. This plural in the pre- 
dicate of the sentence hints that when the king 
is enraged manifold means and instruments 
stand at his command for the immediate de- 
struction of the object of his wrath. Remember 
the despotism and the capricious arbitrariness 
of Oriental sovereigns, and compare xix. 12 ; xx. 
2; Eccles. viii. 3, 4. — In the light of the 
King's countenance is life. The " friendly 
countenance," lit. " light of the countenance," 
as in Ps. iv. 6 (7), is contrasted with the 
"wrath" ver. 14, a, as also are "life" and 
"death." — As a cloud of the latter rain. 
Tlie harvest rain or latter rain (Vulg., imber se- 
rotinus) is a rain falling shortly before the har- 
vest, in March or April, whose timely and abun- 
dant occurrence is indispensable to the success 
of Eastern harvests, especially so in Palestine ; 
comp. xi. 14; Jer. iii. 3; v. 24 ; and particu- 
larly Job xxix. 23, 24, which latter passage is 
here a general parallel. [See Thomson's Land 
and Book, I. 130, 11. 6G]. 

Vers. 16-26. Of God's righteous administra- 
tion in respect to the wise and the foolish. — To 
gain wisdom — how much better is it 
than gold, i. e., than the acquisition of gold; 
compare, for an example of this abbreviated com- 
parison [comparatio decurtata) Job xxviii. 8; Ps. 
iv. 7 (8), etc. For the general sentiment of the 
ver. compare iii. 14; viii. 10, 11, 19. 

Ver. 17. The path (the raised, well-graded road 
n'^prp) of the upright departeth from evil, 
lit. "is abiding far (to abide far) from evil," as 
in ver. 6; comp. also x. 17; xi. 5, 20. — Hitzig 
expands the verse by four clauses which he in- 
troduces from the LXX, and in such an order 
that the second clause of the Masoretic text is 
separated from the first by three of the inserted 
clauses, and a sixth is appended as a final clause. 



Yet he fails to give saiisfactory proof that this 
expanded form was the origiaul, three verses be- 
ing now represented by one. 

Ver. 18. Comp. xv. 25, 33. — The word here 

rendered "fall" (f^^^, tottering, downfall) 
is used only in this passage in the Old Testa- 
inent. — With respect to the sentiment of the ver. 
compare also the Arabic proverb, '-The nose is 
in the heavens, the seat in the mire " (N'asus in 
ccelo est, nates infimo), and the expression of Ho- 
EACE "... feriuntque summos fuljura montes 
(Odes, II. 10: 11, 12). 

[ And ever, where 

The mountaiirs suniniit [luiiits in air, 

Do bolted lightnings flasli." 

— Theo. Martin's Translation.] 

Ver. 10. Better is it to live humbly with 
the lowly. D''J>' (with which reading of the 
K'thibh the LXX agrees, while the K"ri reads 
D'1J>' ) describes those who are bowed down by 

• T ~. 

troubles, the sufferers, the lowly ; comp. Zech. 
ix. 9. 

Ver. 20. He that giveth heed to the w^ord 
findeth good, ;. f., naturally, to the word of 
God, the word j}ar excellence; comp. xiii. 13. — 
With the expression " findeth good, or prosper- 
ity," comp. xvii. 20; xix. 8. " Blessed is he ! ' 
(VltyX) comp. xiv. 21. 

Ver. 21 The wise in heart shall be call- 
ed prudent, understanding, knowing, a pos- 
sessor of ny3, discernuieut. Comp. xiv. 33. 

T ■ 

— And grace on the lips (lit. "of lips'") in- 
creaseth learning, i. e., secures for learning an 
easy access in ever widening circles, comp. 23, 
b. The " grace " or literally the " sweetness " 
of the lips is here represented as a necessary at- 
tendant and helper of wisdom, as in chap. xv. 2. 
Vers. 22. A fountain of life is under- 
standing to him that hath it, lit. "is the 
wisdom of its possessor." The thought is here 
in the first instance unquestionably of the bless- 
incf which comes directly to the possessor from 
his wisdom, and not of its life-dispensing, life- 
promoting influence on others, as Bertheau 
thinks. For this figure of a " fountain of life " 
compare x. 11; xiii. 14; xiv. 27. — But the 
correction of fools is folly. The subject, 
according to the antithetic parallelism, is "fol- 
ly," as " wisdom " is in clause a. The meaning 
can be no other than this: the folly of fools is 
for them a source of all possible disadvantages 
and adversities; the lack of reason is its own pu- 
nishment (comp. IIiTZiG on this passage). [So 
N. and W., while H., M., and S. give to "lD-10 

' ' ' ° T 

its active meaning, "the instruction of fools," 
i. e., that which they give, "is folly." — A.]. 

Ver. 23. Comp. remarks on ver. 21. — And 
increaseth learning upon his lips. " Upon 
his lifis," so far forth as the word that comes 
from the heart rests on the lips, comp. ver. 27; 
Ps. xvi. 4 ; and also the expression " on the 
tongue," Ps. XV. 3 [where the original expresses 
morethan more instrumentality {irifhtha tongue) ; 
" who bearcth not slander en his tongue' (IIup- 
FELD, on the passage), etc. — \.]. 

Ver. 24. As honey of the comb are 
pleasant words, lit. " word:\ of loveliness," as 
in XV. 2G. — For a like refereniW to the " honey- 

comb " see Ps. xix. 10 (11). — Sw^eet to the 
soul. The adj. pinO, for which we might ex- 
pect the plural is to be regarded as a neuter 
used substantively ; something sweet, sweetness ; 
comp. Ezek. iii. 3, and also ver. 2 above. 

Ver. 25. Literally identical with xiv. 12; — ■ 
stricken out by Hitzig from the passage before 
us, because it is superfluous in the gioup (vers. 
22-30) assumed to consist of eight only (?). — 

Vers. 2(5. The spirit of the laborer labo- 
reth for him, /. e.. supports hitn in liis labor, 
impels him to greater perseverance and exertion 
to gain his daily bread. [Zocklek renders "the 
hunger," etc. So Ka.mphausen. This seems to 
us unnecessary. Up) is often the animal soul 
or spirit as distinguished from the higher intel- ' 
lectual, moral and religious nature. It is this 
spirit that feels the pressure of life's necessities, 
and impels to effort for their relief; comp. x. 
3, elc. — A.]. — For his mouth urgeth him on, 
i. e., as it longs for food. This verb (construed 

with 7J^ and the accus. of the person) denotes, 
according to Arabic analogies " to heap a load or 
burden on one" (comp. ^^i;5, a weiglit, bur- 
den, Job xxxiii. 7) [E V. " be heavy upon 
thee "] ; and here sjiecifically, to bind one, to 
drive and force him to do something " (Vulg., 
compulil). — AVith the general sentiment compare 
Eccles. vi. 7. 

5. Vers. 27-33. A new delineation of God's 
justice in punishing the wicked and rewarding 
the pious. Vers. 27-30 form here one connected 
description of the ungodly, nefai'ious conduct of 
the evil men on whom God's judgment falls. 
Vers. 31, 32 contrast with these wicked meti tlie 
upright and the gentle in spirit as the only hap- 
py men ; ver. 33 is a general conclusion point- 
ing us back to the beginning of the chapter. 

Ver. 27. A worthless man ("man of Beli- 
al") searcheth after evil, literally "diggcth 
evil, shovels out evil for himself," i. e., froni the 
pit which he prepares for others, to destroy them 
(comp. xxvi. 27; Jer. xviii. 20 sq.). For this 
expression "man of Belial" compare vi. 12. — 
On his lips is as it -vrexe scorching fire 
(comp. ver. 23). The woids of the worthless 
man are here on account of their desolating ef- 
fects, compared to a blazing or scorching fire 
(comp. Ezek. xxi. 3; Prov. xxvi. 23 ; Job xxxi. 12; 
James iii. 5 sq.). 

Vers. 28. With clause a compare vi. 14, 19. — 
And a backbiter separateth friends, lit. 
" divideth oil' the friend." The singular is not 
here used collectively, but in a certain sense dis- 
tributively ; " divideth a friend from his fellow." 
So in xvii. 9; comp. xix. 4. — For the use of 
pTJ, "backbiter" comp. xviii. 8; xxvi. 20, 22. 
Ver. 29. With clause n compare iii. 81 ; i. 10 
sq. With h compare Ps. xxxvi. 4 (5) ; Isa. 
Ixv. 2. — [Rueetschi (as above cited, p. 145) 
thinks tiiese verses (27-29) more expressive if 
in eacli tiie first words are regarded as the pre- 
dicates, prefixed for emphasis and stronger con- 
trast ; "a worthless man is he, elc. ;" "a per- 
verse, contentious man is he, f/c," "a backbiter 
is he, etc.;''' "a man of violence is he, etc. ;" al- 
though he may excuse his conduct as mere sport. 

CH.AP. XVI. 1-33. 


Ver. 30 describes more precisely, by two par- 
ticipial clauses which belong to the "man of 
violence " in ver. '29, the way in which this wick- 
eil man executes the ruin which he clevises. — 
Shutting his eyes to devise mischief, lit. 
"to meditate craftiness;" comp. ii. 12, vi. 14. — 
Biting his lips. Witli this description, " pres.s- 
inj; in, pressing together his lips," comp. vi. 13; 
X. 10, where this verb is used of the correspond- 
ing action with the eyes. 

Ver. 31. With clause a comp. iv. 19; xx. 29; 
with i, iv. 10 sq., iii. 2. 

Ver. ol. With a compare xiv. 29. — And he 
that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh 
a city, no here not merely the spirit or the 
soul, but the temper, the passionate movement 
and excitement of the spirit. Comp. Pt7-ke Aholh 
cap. iv. 1, where tlie question. Who is after all 
the true hero ? is answered by a reference to the 
proverb of Solomon now before us. The Lord, 
moreover, in Matth. v. -5, promises to the meek 
that they shall inherit the earth. 

Ver. 33. The lot is cast into the lap. Hit. 
zia : " In the bosom the lot is sliaken," a render- 
ing which does indeed conform more closely to 
the import of p'n, " the bosom of the clothing," 
but to us who are not Orientals gives a meaning 
easily misunderstood. For we are wont to call 
the doubled or folded front of the dress the 
"lap." — But from Jehovah is (cometh) all 
its decision, the final judicial sense as it were, 
("judgment," comp. Numb, xxvii. 21) in which 
the result of the lot is reached. Comp. xviii. 18, 
where, however, the discourse is specifically limi- 
ted to the settling of judicial disputes by lot, 
■while here attention is evidently directed to lots 
in general (and therefore to cases like Josh. vii. 
19; 1 Sam. xiv. 37 sq., Numb. xvi. 8; Ps. xxii. 
18 (19), etc.) 


A course, of thought running with any unity 
through the entire chapter it is here again im- 
possible to detect. Only small groups of con- 
nected proverbs stand forth here and there from 
the general level; e. g., vers. 1-3, vers. 10-1-5, 
vers. 27-30 (comp. especially the remarks on 
vers. 27 sq.). Hitzig's endeavor to develop 
here and in the two following chapters (*. e., in 
general terms throughout the section xv. 33 — 
xix. 2), symmetrically constructed groups of 
eight verses each, is quite as unsuccessful as his 
similar assumptions in respect to the construc- 
tion of the general division, chap. x. — xxii. 16, 
on definite numerical principles (comp. above, re- 
marks on X. 1 sq.; and on xiii. 1). 

A decided pre-eminence belongs in the chapter, 
as it is now defined, to the idea that God controls 
the action of mail altogether according to His own wise 
Judgment and good pleasure. That " man pro- 
poses but God disposes," — this truth which sum- 
mons to humble confidence in God, and a child- 
like and unconditional surrender to the fatherly 
guidance of the Lord's hand, stands at the head 
of the section as a whole (ver. 1), with a special 
emphasizing of the divine influence exerted over 
the manner and the results of human speech. It 
recurs again in vers. 10-15 before the connected 

delineation of the authority of human kings, aa 
counterpai'ts and representatives of the great 
King of heaven ; and here there is special refe- 
rence not to the speech but to the action of men 
(ver. 9). Finally it forms the conclusion of the 
chapter, and that in the form of a reference to 
the supreme control which God holds in His hand 
over the lot as any where employed by men (ver. 
33). It is the doctrine of the divine government 
of the world (ihe gubermitio, with its four promi- 
nent forms or methods, permissio, impeditio. direc- 
tio and determinalio) ; or again the doctrine of 
the divine co-operation with the free self-deter- 
mined acts of men (the concursus as it exists tar% 
ad bonas qiiam ad malas actiones hominum [with 
reference both to the good and to the evil actions 
of men]), that is asserted in these propositions 
and developed in various directions. Especially 
does the intermediate place which human kings 
and judges assume as representatives of the di- 
vine justice, and in a certain sense prophets of 
the divine will (ver. 10), also as typically gods 
on earth (ver. 13-15; comp. Ps. Ixxxii. 6), in 
their relation to the destiny of individual men, 
stand out in a significant prominence ; it thus af- 
fords instructive premonition of the exhortations 
of the New Testament to obedience to the magis- 
trates who stand in God's phice, — such as are 
found in Matth. xxii. 21 ; llom. xiii. 1 sq. ; 1 
Pet. ii. 17, etc. Compare what Melanchthon 
observes on ver. 10 sq. ; "These words affirm 
that the whole political order, magistrates, laws, 
distinctions in authority, contracts, judgments, 
penalties are works ordained by the wisdom of 
God within the human race. Therefore since 
we know that political order is God's work, let 
us love it, and seek to maintain it by our duty, 
and in modesty obey it for God's sake, and let 
us render thanks to God the preserver, and let 
us know that the madness of devils and of men 
who disturb the political order is displeasing 
to God, etc." 

Other ethical truths to which a significant pro- 
minence is given are contained particularly in 

Ver. 6. A reference to the fear of God, and 
penitent and believing consecration to God as the 
only way to the development of genuine fruits of 
love and of righteousness (see notes on this pas- 

Ver. 20. Combined view of the two chief re- 
quisites to a really devout life; 1) obedience to 
the word of God, and 2) inspiring confidence in 

Vers. 21 and 23 (comp. also ver. 24). The 
stress laid on the great value of an eloquent 
mouth, as an appropriate organ for a wise heart 
exercising itself in the service of the Lord. 

Ver. 32. Reference to gentleness of spirit and 
the ruling of one's own passions, as the best and 
surest means to the attainment of real power and 
greatness — an expressive Biblical testimony 
against all uncharitable advancement of self in 
the way of strife, and against the combative spi- 
rit of brawlers and duellists. 

[Andrew Fuller: Tiie doctrine of verse 7 
stands in apparent contradiction with 2 Tim. iii. 
12. The truth seems to be that neither of the 
passages is to be taken ■universaUg. The peace 
possessed by those wdio please God does not ex- 
tend so far as to exempt them from having ene- 



mies, and though all godly men must in some 
form or other be persecuted, yet none are perse- 
cuted at all times. The passage from Timothy 
may therefore refer to the native enmity which 
true godliness is certain to excite, and the pro- 
rerb to the Divine control over it.] 


Homily on the chapter as a xohole ; Of God's 
wise and righteous government of the world, as 
it is exhibited 1) in the life of men in general 
(1-9) ; li) in the action and administration of 
earthly rulers (10-15) ; 3) in the endeavors and 
results of human wisdom (1(5-26) ; 4) in the 
rigliteous reti-ibution which awaits both, the 
good and the evil (27-33). — Stocker: On God's 
gracious care for men. i) Proof \.\v.\i sucli a pa- 
ternally upliolding and governing providence of 
God over men exists, a) in general (vers. 1-9); 
b) through the government of the world in par- 
ticular (10-15). 2) The duties of the pious in 
recognition of this paternal providence and go- 
vernment of God (vers. 1(3-33). — Woiilfartii : — 
On the providence and government of God, and 
man's duty. Man proposes, God disposes, — 
usually otherwise than we devise and desire, but 
always more gloriously and better than we could 
do. Hence humility, prudence and trust in God 
are the chief duties of man in return. 

Vers. 1-3. Melanchthon : — It is well to con- 
sider that our resolves are a different thing from 
their success. That we may form successful and 
salutary resolutions we need God s aiil in two 
forms ; in examining the diflfercnt possible ways, 
and then in conforming our course to them. We 
must therefore at all times be of this firm pur- 
pose, to let our whole life be ruled by God's word, 
and for all things to invoke God's help. — Geier 
(on ver. 1) ; Teachers, preachers and rulers 
especially must call earnestlj' on God for the 
careful government and sanctification of their 
tongue, in order that in the fulfilment whether 
of their public or their private duties the right 
word may always stand at their command, and 
notiiing unseemly or injurious may escape them. 
— (()n ver. 3) : The duties of our calling we must 
indeed fulfil with fidelity and diligence, but yet 
in all patience await from the Lord blessing and 
success. — Berlch. Bible: If one is notable with- 
out God to utter a word that one has already 
conceived, how much less will one be able to 
bring any thing to pass without God's aid. And 
how much more will this be true within the 
sphere of the spiritual life, since man is wholly 
"insufficient of himself to think any thing as of 
himself" (2 Cor. iii. 5), but must receive all 
from the Lord, etc. — [Arnot (on ver. 2) : The 
human heart is beyond conception cunning in 
making that appear right which is felt pleasant. 
The real motive power that keeps the wheels of 
life going round is tliis : men like the things 
that they do, and do the things that they 

Vers. 4-9. Wiirt. Bible (on ver. 4): God'g pro- 
vidence extends over good and wicked men 
(Matth. v. 45) ; through His ordaining it comes to 
pass that the ungodly arc punished in their time 
and as they deserve. — ^^Von Geri.ach fon ver. 4) : 
The wicked man also fulfils God's design, when 

tlie day of calamity comes upon him ; all without 
exception must serve Him. — [Charnock (on 
ver. 4) : If sin ends in any good, it is only from 
that Infinite transcendency of skill that can 
bring good out of evil, as well as light out of 
darkness — Waterland (on ver. 4): God bridles 
the wicked by laws and government and by the 
incessant labors of good men : and yet more im- 
mediately by His secret power over their hearts 
and wills, and over all their faculties; as well as 
over all occurrences and all second causes through 
the whole universe; and if He still affords them 
compass enough to range in, yet notwithstand- 
ing He rules over them with so strong and 
steaily a hand, that they cannot move a step but 
by His leave, nor do a single act but what shall 
be turned to good effect. — Beveridge (on ver. 
4) : Goil in His revelations hath told us nothing 
of the second causes which He hath established 
under Himself for the production of ordinary 
effects, that we may not perplex ourselves about 
them, but always' look up to Him as the first 
cause, as working without them or by them as He 
sees good. But He hath told us plainly of the 
final cause or end of all things, that we may keep 
our eyes always fixed on that, and accordingly 
strive all we can to promote it. — Bp. Hall (on 
ver. 6): It is not an outward sacrifice that God 
regards in His remission of the punishment of 
our sin; but when He finds mercy to the poor, 
and uprightness of heart towards Himself and 
men, then He is graciously pleased to forbear 
His judgments ; inasmuch as these graces, being 
wrought in us by His Spirit, cannot but proceed 
from a true faith whereby our sins are purged. 
— Bonae, (on ver. 6) : Forgiveness, ascertained 
forgiveness, conscious forgiveness, this is the 
beginning of all true fear. This expels a world 
of evil from the human heart and keeps it from 
re-entrance. It works itself out in such things 
as these — obedience, fellowship, love, zeal]. — 
Starke (on ver. 0): Not of merit but of grace 
are the sins of the penitent forgiven for Christ's 
sake. One of the ciiief fruits of justification is, 
however, the exhibition of fidelity and truth to- 
wards one's neighbors (Eph. ii. 8, 9; iv. 25). — 
(On ver. 7): Think not that thou wilt thyself 
subdue and overcome thine enemies, but only 
seek to have God for thy friend ; He can of all 
thy foes make thee friends. — [Bates (on ver. 7): 
Many sins are committed for the fear of the an- 
ger of men, and presumption of the mercy of 
God ; but it is often found that a religious con- 
stancy gains more friends than carnal obsequi- 
ousness. — Trapp (on ver. 7) : When God is dis- 
pleased, all His creatures are up in arms to fetch 
in His rebels, and to do execution. At peace 
with Him, at peace with the creature too, that 
gladly takes His part, and is at His beck and 
check], — Zeltner (on ver. 9): Be presumptuous 
in none of thy schemes, but thinking of thine own 
weakness put as the foundation of every under- 
taking " if the Lord will " (.James iv. 15). — 
[.Vrnot (on ver. 9) : The desires of human hearts 
and the efforts of human hands go into the pro- 
cesses of providence and constitute the material 
on which the Almighty works.] 

Vers. 10-15. Melanchthon; comp. Doctri- 
nal and Ethical notes. — Starke (on ver. 10): 
For the right conduct of the office of ruler and 

CHAP. XVII. 1-28. 


judge it is not enougli to understand well secu- 
lar laws and rights ; Divine wisdom is also abso- 
lutely essential. — (On ver. 1-) : Kings are not 
only not to do evil, or to let it bo done by others 
■with impunity; they are to hate and abhor it 
■with all energy. — VoN Gerlach (on ver. 11): 
Weiglit and measure as the invisible and spiri- 
tual means by which material possessions are 
estimated and determined for men according to 
their value, are holy to the Lord, a copy of His 
law in the outer world; taken up by Himself into 
His s.inctuary, and therefore, as His work, to bo 
regarded holy also by men. — (On ver. 14): 
Seasonable words of a wise man can easily avert 
the wrath of kings, destructive as that is. 
Therefore let each one mould himself into such a 
wise man, or find for himself such a one. 

Vers. 18-26. [Chalmers (on ver. 17) : The 
reflex influence of the outward walk and way on 
the iiiner man. — Arnot (on ver. 17): Doctrine, 
although both true and Divine, is for us only a 
shadow, if it be not embodied in holiness. — Wa- 
TERiiAND (on ver. 18) : Sliaine and contempt the 
end of pride, a) by natural tendency; i) because 
of God's detestation and resolution to punish it. 
— Mui'FET (on ver. 19) : It is a pleasant thing to 
be enriched with other men's goods: it is a 
gainful thing to have part of the prey: it is a 
glorious thing to divide the spoil. It is better to 
be injured than to do injury; it is better to bo 
patient than to be insolent; it is better with the 
afHicted people of God to be bruised in heart and 
low of port, than to enjoy the pleasures or trea- 
sures of sin or of this world for a season. — 
Trapp (on ver. 20) : He that, in the use of law- 
ful means resteth upon God for direction and 
success, though he fail of his design, yet he 
knows whom lie hath trusted, and God will 
" know his soul in adversity "]. — Grier (on ver. 
20) : In doubtful cases to hold fast to God's 
■word and believingly hope in His help, ensures 
always a good issue. — Starke (on vers. 21, 22): 
Eloquence combined with wisdom is to be re- 
garded as an excellent gift of God, and produces 
so much the more edification and profit. — Lange 
(on ver. 21): One must first learn to think 
rightly before he can speak well. — Von Gerlach 

(on ver. 26) •, Since that which causes us labor 
and trouble becomes a means of our subsistence, 
it in turn helps us overcome labor and trouble, 
for this very thing, by virtue of God's wise, re- 
gulating providence, becomes for us a spur to in- 
dustry. — [Lawson (on ver. 26) : Self-love is a 
damning sin where it reigns as the chief princi- 
ple of action; but the want of self-love where it 
is required is no less criminal.] 

Vers. 27-33. Starke (on vers. 27 sq.) : The 
lack of genuine love for one's neighbor is the 
source of all deception, persecution and slander 
of the innocent. — Hypocrites can indeed by an 
assumed mien of holiness deceive men, but before 
the eyes of God all this is clear and open, to 
their shame. — (On ver. 32) : The greatest heroes 
and conquerors of the world are often just the 
most miserable slaves of their lusts. — E. LoscH 
(on ver. 31 — see Sonntagsfeier, 1841, No. 27): 
Age, its burdens, its dignities; means to the at- 
tainment of a happy old age. — Saurin (Sermon 
on ver. 32) : On true heroism — what it is, 1) to 
be ruler of one's spirit; 2) to gain cities and 
l.mds. — Von Gkrlach (on ver. 33) : Chance 
there is not, and man can never give more than 
the outward occasion for the decision, which lies 
wholly in tlic hand of the Lord. — [Trapp (on ver. 
30) : Wicked men are great students. . . . Their 
wits will better serve them to find out a hundred 
shifts or carnal arguments than to yield to one 
saving truth, though never so much cleared up 
to them. — MuFFET (on ver. 31) : Commendable 
old age leaneth upon two staves — the one the re- 
membrance of a life well led, the other the hope 
of eternal life. — See Emjidxs' Sermon on ver. 
31. — J. Edwards (on ver. 32) : The strength of 
the good soldier of Jesus Christ appears in no- 
thing Hiore than in steadfastly maintaining the 
holy, calm meekness, sweetness and benevolence 
of his mind, amidst all the storms, injuries, 
strange behaviour, and surprising acts and 
evenis, of this evil and unreasonable world. — 
Lawson (on ver. 32) : The meek obtain the no- 
blest victories and enjoy the happiest kind of 
authority. — South (on ver. 33) : Sermon on 
"All contingencies under the direction of God's 

/?) Admonition to contentment and a peaceable disposition. 
Chap. XVII. 

1 Better a dry morsel and quietness therewith 
than a house full of slain beasts ■svith strife. 

2 A wise servant shall have rule over a degenerate son, 

and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren. 

3 The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold, 
but he that trieth hearts is Jehovah. 

4 Wickedness giveth heed to lying lips, 
deceit giveth ear to a vile tongue. 


5 He that mocketh the poor hath reproached his Maker, 
he that rejoiceth over a cahimity shall not be unpunished. 

6 The crown of the old is children's children, 
the glory of children is their parents. 

7 High speech doth not become the fool, 
how much less do lying lips the noble! 

8 As a precious stone is a gift in the eyes of him that receiveth it, 
whithersoever it turneth it maketh prosperous. 

9 He that covereth trangression seeketh after love ; 
but he that repeateth a matter estraugeth friends. 

10 A reproof sinketh deeper into a wise man 
than to chastise a fool an hundred times. 

11 The rebellious seeketh only evil, 

and a cruel messenger shall be sent after him. 

12 Meet a bear robbed of her whelps, 
and not a fool in his folly. 

13 He that returneth evil for good, 
from his house evil shall not depart. 

14 As a breaking forth of waters is the beginning of strife ; 
before the strife poureth forth, cease ! 

15 He that acquitteth the wicked and he that eondemneth the just, 
an abomination to Jehovah are they both. 

16 Why this price in the hand of a fool? 

(It is) to get wisdom, and he hath no heart to it. 

17 At all times the friend loveth, 

but the brother is born of adversity. 

18 A man void of understanding is he who striketh hands, 
who becometh surety in the presence of his friend. 

19 He loveth sin that loveth strife, 

and he that buildeth high his doors seeketh destruction. 

20 He that is of a false heart findeth no good, 

he that goeth astray with his tongue falleth into evil. 

21 He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow, 
and the father of a fool hath no joy. 

22 A joyous heart promoteth health, 
but a broken spirit drieth the bones. 

23 A gift from the bosom a wicked man will receive 
to pervert the ways of justice. 

24 Before the face of the wise is wisdom, 

but the fool's eyes are in the ends of the earth. 

25 A grief to his father is a foolish son, 
and a trouble to her that bare him. 

26 Also to punish the righteous is not good, 
to smite the noble contrary to right. 

27 He that spareth his words hath knowledge, 

and he that is quiet in temper is a man of understanding. 

28 Even a fool who keepeth silence will be counted wise, 
and he that shutteth his lips is wise. 


Ver. 4-— J/HO is probably not a Iliph. part.: "a wicked man," but an abstract substantive, as the parallel term "^P'Cf 
indicates (Ewald, Uitzio); and p;^ stands, according to the parallel 3'i:;n'3 for J'lXp. [BiiXT. insists upon regiirding 
the form as a Hipb. part, masc, distinguished by the vocalization from J,' 10 "friend"' (see §g 1124, A ; 7C4, c) ; Fuerst 
gives to the full form_^'no, which never occurs, but is assumed as the singular of D'^'^^O, the active signification "male 
ficui," evil doer, but maintains that ^"10, which occurs only here except with a pausai modification, has naturally the 
neuter abstract meaning. See also Qreev, §140, 5. — A.] 

Ver. 10.— From the infin. j'-\'l3n there is easily supplied as an object HZI'O.— nnn is the Imporf. of the verb 
fin J, to descend, to penetrate (comp. Is. x.vx. 00) : the form without abbreviatiou would, according to Ps. xxxviii. 3, have 

CHAr. XVII. 1-28. 


been nnjH- [So T!ott. who alsn defends the position of the accent on the ground of emphasis (§ 497, 3), and criticizes, 
both on tliu ground of specific form and general construction, Fuerst's assigning it as an apoc. luiiierf. to 


Ver 11.— That ^'\ is the subject of the clause, and not possibly "'"ip, as the Syr., Chald., Umbreit, Etvald, 

etc., maintain, appears from the position of "HX bef )re the latter word, and also from the unquestionable reference of 

the '13 in the 2d clause to y"l as a masculine substantive. [Rujeeischi (as above, p. 146) replies that IjX may as well 

throw its emphasis ou an entire proposition as on a single word (see Nordheimer, § 1072, 4) and that 13 refers to 'TO 

the subject of the proposition, which is an abstract in the sense of a concrete. Versions and interpreters are very equally 
divided; with our author emphasizing '10 as object, "only rebellion, nothing but rebellion," are tlie E. V., V. Esa, 

BERTHEAtT, K., S. ; with RUEETSCHi aro De VV., M., N., and substantially II. and W. We render with the latter in opposi- 
tion to Zockler's view. — A.j. 

Ver. 13. The K'thibh ty'Dil^N^ '3 to l>e retained, since the Ilipliil u/^DH lias in Ps. Iv. 12 also the intransitive 

• T , * '* 

meaning "depart." 

Vers. 19. A\A-:v Ezra, Geier, Schultens, ^^'c, take the expression "to m:iko high tlie door, or gate," as meaning "to 
open wide the mouth, to utter a vehement outcry" (nHD being taken as equivalent to Hi), us oMum U tu us ; comp. 

Ps.cxli. 3 ; Eccles. xii. 4). But the idea would then bo very obscurely expressed, and instead of n'SJ^D we should expect 

Vers. 22. nnj is not equivalent to niJ or rT'lJ, " body," (Chald., Syr., Bertheau, ete.) but is to be derived from 
T •• T** 1 ' : 

the radical nHJ, Hos. v. 13, — and therefore means "healing, recovery" (IIitzig, "the closing up of a wound"'?) 

T T 

[FUEiiST prrfprs tlie rendering nf the T^irg., Syr., etn. ; GESE?f. that ndopteil by the author. — A.]. 

Ver. 27. The renuering which we give conforms to the K'thibli, P-IT "IDIi to substitute for which with the K'ri 

(which is followed by the Vulg., Luther, e<c.) n-IT '^p^ " of a noble spirit," seems hero less appropriate. [The LXX 

follow the K'thibh]. 


1. Vers. 1-9. Admonitions to contentment and 
a wise moderation in earthly possessions, and in 
the use of tlie tongue. — Better a dry morsel 
and quietness therewith. " A dry piece of 
bread," without wine, without even vinegar 
(Ruth ii. 14) or water with it (1 Sam. xxv. 11). 
The thing contrasted with it is D'n3T, not "sac- 
rificial banquets" (Umbreit, Elster, [Fuerst]), 
but animal-i slaughtered for sacritice, as consti- 
tuting the chief element in a rich, sumptuous 
meal; comp. chap. ix. 2; Gen. xliii. 16. For 
the general meaning compare xv. 16, 17; xvi. 8. 

Ver. 2. A wise servant (comp. xiv. 3.5) 
shall have rule over a degenerate son, 
lit., "a bad, unprotitable sou," who becomes 
impoverished and even a slave, because he has 
squauilered his means, etc. — Among the bre- 
thren shall he divide the inheritance, i. e. 
among brethren who are sons of the testator, 
while he himself who inherits with them, is not 
a son but only a servant. Comp. Abraham's 
apprehension in regard to his servant Eliezer, 
Gen. XV. 3 sq. With this expression "in the 
midst of the brethren" compare a similar one in 
Hos. xiii. 15. — Ver. 3. With clause a compare 
xxvii. 21 a (which is literally identical) : with b 
compare xv. 11; xvi. 2; xxi. 2 ; xxiv. 12. 

Ver. 4. Wickedness giveth heed to 
lying lips. See critical noies. The meaning 
is plainly this: ".A. wicked heart, inwardly cor- 
rupt, glailly attends to lying talk ; and deceit" — 
so clause b asserts in addition — ;'. e. a heart full 
of inward insincerity and hypocrisy, a hypocri- 
tical man given to lying (abstract for concrete), 
"hearkens to a perverse tongue," i. e. finds 
pleasure in wicked discourse, which supplies 
words to its own base thoughts, and develops 
them into definite evil propositions and designs. 

Ver. 5. With a compare xiv. 31. — Ha that 
rejoiceth over a calamity shall not be 
unpunished (^comp. xi. 21; xvi. 5). "Sud- 

den misfortune," according to clause a probably 
sudden poverty. Comp. Job xxxi. 29, a similar 
utterance regarding the penal desert of an un- 
charitable delight in calamity. 

Ver. (>. Wit it clause a comp. Ps. cxxvii. 5. — 
The glory of children is their fathers. As 
the pride and honor of the gray-headed is the 
family circle that surrounds them, or the advanc- 
ing series .of their children, grandchildren, etc., 
so "on their part children, so long as they are 
not also parents, can only reach backward ; and 
with the genealogy, the farther back it reaches, 
the honor of the family increases " (Hitzig). 

Ver. 7. High speech doth not become 
the fool. " A lip of excess, of prominence " 
plainly denotes an assuming, imperious style of 
speech, — not the "elevated, or soaring," as 
EwALD, Elster, U.mbreit claim; for the paral- 
lel "lip of deceit" in clause b indicates its sin- 
ful character. — How much less do lying 
lips the noble? " The noble," the spirit of 
lotty dispositions (comp. ver. 26), — to whom, 
deceitfulness, and crafty, sly artifices of speech 
are less becoming than to any other man, — stands 
contrasted with the "fool" just as in Isa. xxxii.. 
5 sq. 

Ver. 8. As a precious stone is a gift ia 
the eyes of him that receiveth it. Lit., 
"a stone of loveliness," a cosily stone, gemma 
ffratissima {Yu\g.) ; comp. i. 9. — TJie "master" 
of the gift is here evidently not its giver (Elster, 
comp. Luther, and many of the older exposi- 
tors), but he that receives it, he who is won by 
it; and the "gift" is here to be taken not in 
the bad sense, of bribery (as below in ver. 23),, 
but rather of lawful presents; comp. xviii. 16. — 
Whithersoever it turneth it maketh pros- 
perous; i. e. to whomsoever it may come iL will 
have a good result and secure for its giver sup- 
porters and friends. The expression conforms, 
to the idea of the "precious stone " in clause a 
(although it is not the jewel, but the gift that ia- 
subject of the verb "turneth"). For a really 
beautiful and well-cut stone sparkles, whichever- 



way one may turn it, and from whichever side 
one may view it; just so is it with the good 
result of a well-directed generosity, by which 
the hearts of all are necessarily won A truth 
■which naturally is to be taken quite in a relative 
and conditional sense. 

Ver. 9. He that covereth transgression 
seeketh after love, /. e. not "seeks to gain 
tlie lovo of others" but " seeks to exercise love, 
a truly charitable spirit" (so Hitzig with un- 
doubted correctness, in opposition to Bertheao). 
[Brioges and M. also take this view, which 
commends it.self both as the deepest and the 
most disinterested representation. — A.]. For 
the "covering transgression" cornp. x. 12, and 
the remarks on the passage. — But he that 
repeateth a matter separateth friends (sec 
xvi. 28). "Repeateth a matter" O^'J? HJl^) 
is not " to return with remarks " or " with a 
word" [i. e. to repeat] (Ewald, Beutheau, 
Elster, Fuerst, etc.), but "to come back with 
a matter," [Gesen.] i. e. to be continually re- 
verting to something, repeatedly to bring it up 
and show it forth, instead of letting it alone and 
covering it with the mantle of charity. This 
expression is different both from the Latin, ^^ ad 
alios drferre, denuiitiarn'" (Winer) and also from 
the Greek devrepovv loyov. Comp. furthermore 
Ecclesiast. xix. 6-10. 

2. Vers. 10-20. Admonitions to a peaceable 
spirit; warnings against a contentious and \\n- 
cl:aritable disposition. — A reproof sinketh 
deeper into a ^vise man than a hundred 
stripes into a fool, (comp. Ueut. xxv. 3); 
lit., "ihan to smite the fool with a hundred." 
AVitli the meaning of the verse compare Sal- 
£U.5t's Jiigurtha, c. 11: allius in pectus descends, 
and the common phrase "to make a deeper im- 

Vor. 11. Clause a, see critical notes for the 
reasons for our departure from Zockler's ren- 
dering. — And a cruel messenger shall be 
sent after him, i. e. by God, against whom we 
are to regard the "rebellion" mentioned in 
clause a as directed. So the LXX and Vulg. 
.rendered in their day, and among recent inter- 
preters Bertiieau, e. g. ; for to think of a mere 
human messenger, as in xvi. 14, is forbidden by 
the analogy of passages like Ps. xxxv. 5, (5; 
Ixxviii. 49; IIitzig's rendering, however, "and 
a cruel angel (a wild demon of passion, as it 
were), is let loose within liim," is altogether 
artificial, and rests upon modern conceptions 
that are quite foreign to the Old Testament; be- 
sides we ought probably to have found i3"1p3 
" in the midst of him," instead of 13. 

Ver. 12. Meet a bear robbed of her 
•whelps. The Iniiu. abs. here stands for the 
luiper or .Tussive; comp. Gen. xvii. 10; Dent, 
i. IG ; Jer. ii. 2, etc. For the use of the epicene 
31 for the she-bear comp. Ilos. xiii. 8; 2 Sam. 
xvii. 8. — The "fool in his folly" is naturally a 
fool who is peculiarly malignant, one who is in 
a very paroxysm of folly, and whose raving is 
more dangerous than the madness of a wild 
beast. Comp. Schiller : " Gef'dhrUch ists den 
Leu zu weaken,'' etc. ['Tis perilous to wake the 

Ver. 13. With .clause a compare 1 Sam. xxv. 

21 ; with b, 2 Sam. iii. 29.—" Evil " here in the 
sense of misfortune, the penalty for acts of in- 
justice done the good. 

Ver. 14. As a breaking forth of waters 
is the beginning of strife [Zoiki.ior: "he 
letteth furih waters," etc. Z. also conceives of 
the latter part of the clause as meaning literally 
"who (lets loose) the beginning of strife;" in 
his view the participle is to be repeated before 
the word iTtyXT "beginning." The use of the 
vei'b "^£33 in the sense of "send forth, bring 
out" is confirmed by the Targum on Ex. xxi. 2t5. 
The particii)le cannot, however, in Z.'s view, be 
taken here in a neuter sense, as Ewald maintains 
(so U.mbreit). Fiterst maintains the view of 
E. and U. and cites analogous forms of verbal 
nouns. AVe adopt it as justified by verbal ana- 
logies and simplifying the construction. — A.] 
Luther expresses the substantial idea thus: 
" He who begins strife is like Jiim that tears 
away the dam from the water.^ "' — Before the 
strife poureth forth, cease ! The meaning 

of the verb i?vJnn which is best attested is here, 
as in xviii. 1 ; xx. 3, "to roll forth." Here, as 
in verse 8, the figurative conception employed 
in clause a influences the selection of the verb 
in b. The strife is conceived of as a flood which 
after its release rolls on irresistibly. Umbkeit, 
Elster, etc., following the Chald. and Arabic, 
explain "before the strife becomes warm;" 
HiTziG (and Ewald also) "before the strife 
shows its teeth." As though an altogether new 
figure could be so suddenly introduced here, 
whether it be that of a nre blazing up, or that 
of a lion showing his teeth! [As the word 
occurs but three times, and the cognate roots in 
the Hebrew and its sister languages are not 
decisive, the moral argument, may well turn the 
scale ; and this certainly favors the view in 
which Z. has the concurrence of Fuerst, Ber- 
THEAU, Stuart, etc. — A.] 

Ver. 15. Comp. xxiv. 24; Isa. v. 23. — An 
abomination to Jehovah are they both ; 
lit., "an abhorrence of Jehovah are also they 
two;" comp. 2 Sam. xix. 31, where DJ, also, ex- 
presses as it does here the associating of a sec- 
ond with the one. 

Ver. IG. Why this price in the hand of 
a fool, etc. [While there is no essential dis- 
agreement among expositors in regard to the 
general meaning of the verse, they are divided 
as to the punctuation and the mutual relation of 
the clauses. The Hebrew points are not deci- 
sive. Z. agrees with the Vulg., E. V., H., S., 
etc. in making the sentence one complex inter- 
rogative sentence. Be Dieu, Schultens, Van 
Ess, De Wette, Noyes, etc., make two interroga- 
tive clauses, followed by one affirmation. We 
have chosen the more equal division of the LXX. 
— .v.] The getting or buying of wisdom is by 
no means a thing absolutely impossible, as ap- 
pears from chap. iv. 5, where exjiress admoni- 
tion is given to do this. But for earthly gold, for 
a price, it is not for sale, and especially not for 
the fool, who has no understanding. For the last 
clause, "and heart, understanding, is not, does 
not exist," compare the substantially equivalent 
expression in I's. xxxii. 9; also Jer. v. 21, etc. 

CHAP. XVII. 1-28. 


Ver. 17. Compare xviii. 24; also Ecclesiast. 
xii. 7. — But the brother is born of ad- 
versity. The ideas " IViend" and "brother" 
are rehiicd the cue as the climax of the other. 
The "friend," the companion with whom one 
preserves a friendly intercourse cherishes a con- 
stant good-will toward his comrade; but it is 
only necessity that develops him further into a 
" brother," as it gives the opportunity to attest 
his loving disposition by offerings of love, such 
as in truth only one brother makes for another. 
Comp. Ennius, in Cic. Litl. c. 17: Amicus ccrlus 
in re incerta cernitur ; and also the Arabic pro- 
verb (Sent. 53 in Erpenius Gramm.) : "The 
friend one finds out not till one needs him." — 

"Iz-V "he is born," as a new being, into the new 
conditions of the actual, brotherly relation. 
n"li*7 must here mean " of adversity" (Hitzig, 
K.), not "in adversity" (Umbeiut, N.), or "for 
adversity" (Ewald, Bertheait, Elster, De W., 
S., M., etc.). [The grammatical justification of 

Z.'s view is found mainly in the fact that 7 
is ordinarily used when in a passive construction 
the efficient cause is to be expressed : see Gesex. 
Lehrr/ch. I 221, Rod. Gesen. Heb. Gram. | 1-10. 
2. Of course it may also denote the final cause. 
— A.] — For ver. 18 compare vi. 1-5; xi. 15. 

Ver. 19. AVith clause a compare James i. 20; 
■with 6, Prov. xvi. 18. — Who buildeth high 
his doors ; i. e. seeks to transform his simjile 
residence into a proud and splendid edifice, liut 
by that very process only hastens its " destruc- 
tion " (lit., "shattering, downfall," comp. the 
similar term in x. 14, etc.). [Sharpk's TcxIs of 
Bible explained, etc. : "Private houses were some- 
times built ostentatiously with a lofty gateway 
which would naturally breed jealousy in the 
neighbors, and invite the visits of the tax- 
gatherer; and in a time when law was weak 
and property very unsafe, might easily lead to 
the ruin of its owner." — A.] The sentiment is 
therefore directed against pride as the chief 
source of a quarrelsome spirit, and the most 
common cause of ruinous contention. 

Ver. 2i). With clause a compare xi. 20: xvi. 
20. — He that ■wandereth with his tongue, 
i. e. speaks now this way, no\v that; therefore 
has a deceitful tongue, "a wayward tongue," 
s. 31 (comp. viii. 13). — Falleth into evil; 
see xiii. 17. Observe the climax existing in the 
negative expression "no good " iu a, and this 
" evil." 

3. Vers. 21-28. Proverbs of various content, 
directed especially against want of sense, and 
loquacity. — He that begetteth a fool doeth 
it to his ov/n sorrow. Comp. x. 1, xviii. 13; 
and the converse of the thought here presented, 
chap, xxiii. 24 ; also xv. 20. 

Ver. 22. A joyous heart promoteth 
health. See critical note. For the sentiment 
comp. XV. 13; with clause b in particular, iii. 8. 

Ver. 23. A gift from the bosom a wicked 
man will receive. "From tlie bosom,"?, e. 
secretly and stealthily; comp. xxi. 14. The 
term -gift" is here used naturally of unlawful 
bribery. — AVith clause b compare xviii. 5; Am. 
ii. 7. 

Ver. 24. Before the face of the wise is 

wisdom. "Before the face," here it would 
seem •' very near" and therefore "close before 
the face" (Bertheau, Elster, etc.): or ao-ain 
with ZiEGLER, Hitzig, etc., the explanation may 
be in accordance with Deut. xvi. l(j, " AVisdoia 
floats before the man of understanding, he has 
it in his eye" (comp. xv. 14). — But the eyes 
of the fool (range) to the end of the eartli, 
i. e. "his mind is not on the subject, but roams 
in undefined, shadowy distance " (Hitzig) ; he 
tliinks of many and various things, on every 
possible thing. — only not of the very thing that 
is needful and important ; comp. iv. 25. — Ver. 
25. Comp. ver. 21 and x. 1. 

Ver. 2'). Also to punish the righteous is 
not good, to smite the noble contrary to 
right. Tlie also (DJj plainly gives prominence 
to the verb that immediately follows, and this 
verb should be allowed to retainits ordinary signi- 
fication, "to punish with a fine, to impose a 
pecuniary fine" (comp. xxii. 8). The fine as a 
comparatively light penalty, which may easily 
at one time or another fall with a certain justice 
even on a "just " man {e. g. when he from inad- 
vertence has in some way injured the property of 
another), stands contrasted with the much se- 
verer punishment with stripes; and as these two 
verbal ideas are related, so are also the predi- 
cates "not good" (comp. ver. 20), and "con- 
tniry to right" (above desert, beyond all pro- 
portion to the just and reasonable), in the 
relation of a climax. On the other hand the 
"rigliteous" and the "noble" (as in ver. 7) are 
essentially persons of the same class. The pro- 
verb, which evidently contains an admonition 
to mild and reasonable treatment of upright 
men, or a warning against the inhuman enfoi-ce- 
ment of penal laws upon active and meritorious 
citizens, has been in many ways misunderstood 
and falsely applied ; and this is true of most of 
the recent expositors nith the exception of Um- 
BREiT, who alone interprets with entire correct- 
ness. (Bertheau and Elster are also essential- 
ly right, except that they do not take the "ll^'-^j; 
"contrary to right" as the predicate, but are 
disposed to connect it by way of more exact 
definition with the phrase " to smite the noble "). 
[The LXX, Vulg., followed by the E. V., AV., M., 
11., N., render " for their equity." S. and K. 
agree with Z., both in the meaning and the pre- 
dicative construction. — A.] 

Ver. 27. AVith a comp. x. 19. — And he that 
is of a quiet temper. Comp. the opposite of 
the "coolness of spirit" here, intended {i. e. 
cautious, moderate, quietly considerate deport- 
ment); Ps. xxxix. 3 (4).— Ver. 28. Comp. Job 
xiii. 5; Prov. x. 19, etc. 


The introductory verse with its commendation 
of contentment and a peaceable spirit at the same 
time, or of contentment as the source and basis 
of a peaceable disposition and conduct, may be 
regarded as a prefatory announcement of the 
main subject of the chapter. Contentment U 
furthermore commended (at least indirectly) in 
vers. 2, 5, 8, IG, 19, 22-24; a peaceable and for- 
bearing disposition in vers. 4, 9-15, 17, 19, 20, 



26. — The summons which comes out in the open- 
ing verses, 1-9, to combine with contentment 
the appropriate restraint and regulation of the 
tongue, — or to be abstemious not merely icith the 
mouth but with the tongue (by truthfulness and gen- 
tleness in speech, and by a taciturn disposition, 
yer. 28), — recurs again in the last two verses. 
It may therefore to a certain extent be regarded 
as in general the fundamental idea of the entire 
section In the asceticism of the early Church 
and of the monasticism of the middle ages, this 
idea that there must be an inward organic coex- 
istence of bodily and spiritual fasting, or that 
one should bring the tongue under a serious and 
strict discipline, as the organ not merely of taste, 
but also of speech, found as is well known only 
too prolific practical appreciation. For, appeal- 
ing to the supposed model of Christ's forty days 
of fasting in the wilderness, men added to the 
injunctions of fasting unnaturally strict pre- 
scriptions of silence in many forms (see my 
"Critical History of Asceticism," pp. 297 sq.). 
Apart from these extravagances and exaggera- 
tions, the organic connection, and living reci- 
procity of inflnence between the activity of the 
tongue as an organ of taste and an organ of 
speech, such as exists in every man, is a matter 
deserving distinct recognition ; and sins of the 
toncrue in both directions must be with all earn- 
estness shunned, and together subdued and de- 
stroyed (comp. James iii. 22). 

Other ethical sentiments of special value and 
compass are found in ver. 4 : the heavy guilt 
not only of the tempter, but also of the tempted, 
who, on account of his inward corruption and 
vileness, gives a ready hearing to the evil solici- 
tations of the former; comp. James i. 14 sq. — 
Ver. 6. The blessing of a consecrated domestic 
life, as it shows itself in both the parents and 
their posterity, in their mutual relations and 
demeanor. The opposite of this appears in vers. 
21, 25. 

Ver. 16. The pricelessness of true wisdom, and 
the worthlessness of earthly possessions and 
treasures in the hand of a fool. 

Ver. 17. The great worth of a true friend in 
time of need. 

Ver. 26. The necessity of a mild, considerate 
bearing on the part of persons in judicial and 
magisterial station, toward deserving citizens of 
the state, in cases where they have perchance 
gone astray or come short of duty. Comp. the 
exegetical remarks on this passage. 

[L.\wsoN, ver. 4: "Wicked men have a great 
treasure of evil in their hearts, and yet 
have not enough to satisfy their own corrupt 

Ver. 1-5. Justifying the wicked has an appear- 
ance of mercy in it, but there is cruelty to mil- 
lions in unreasonable acts of mercy to individu- 
als. — Ministers are guilty of the sin of condemn- 
ing the righteous when they preach doctrines 
unscripturally rigid, making those things to be 
sinful which are not condemned in the word of 
God, or carrying the marks necessary to discover 
grace to a pitch too high to suit the generality 
of true Christians, or applying to particular 
persons those terrors that do not justly be- 
long to them. Such was the fault of Job's 


Ilomily on the entire chapter: A peaceable spirit 
and contentment as the sum of ail wisdom ; its 
opposite (contentiousness and foolish aspiring 
after things that are high, see especiall}' ver. 19) 
as the source of all failure in things temporal as 
well as spiritual. — Stocicer: Of true temperance 
in controlling all unseasonable debate and strife; 
]) the causes of these last (vers. 4-13) ; 2) the 
most important means of averting them (14-19); 
3) the serious injuries and disadvantages which 
grow out of them (20-28). 

Vers. 1-8. H.\sius (on ver. 2) : To attain to 
power and influence in this world more depends 
on understanding and prudence than on birth 
ond outward advantages. — Lange (on ver. 3) : 
All human investigations and theories concerning 
the interior world of thought in man are incon- 
clusive and deceptive. The searching of the 
heart of man is one of the kingly prerogatives 
of God. — [Trapp (on ver. 3): God tries us that 
He may make us know what is in us, what dross, 
what pure metal; and all may see that we are 
such as, for a need, can "glorify Him in the 
very fires " (Is. xxiv. 15). — Bridges (on ver. 4): 
The listening ears share the responsibility of the 
naughty tongue.] — ^Zeltner (on ver. 4) : Accord- 
ing as the heart and disposition of a man are 
moulded, he delights either in good or in evil 
discourse. — AVohlfarth (on ver. 7): Force not 
thyself above, degrade not. thyself below thy 
condition. — Von Gerlach (on'ver. 7) : The out- 
ward and the inward must always be in harmony, 
else a distorted and repulsive display results. 
As the fool cannot fitly speak of high things, so 
senseless must a falsehood appear to the noble. — 
Lange (on ver. 8) : Though one may effect much 
with an unjust judge by presents, how much 
better will it be if thou bringest thine heart to 
the Lord thy God as a gift and offering! 

Vers. 9-15. [Lord Bacon (on ver. 9): There 
are two ways of making peace and reconciling 
differences; the one begins with amnesty, the 
other with a recital of injuries, combined with 
apologies and excuses. Now I remember that it 
was the opinion of a very wise man and a great 
politician, that "he who negotiates a peace, 
without recapitulating the grounds of difference, 
rather deludes the minds of the parties by repre- 
senting the sweetness of concord, than reconciles 
them by equitable adjustment." But Solomon, 
a wiser man than he, is of a contrary' opinion, 
approving of amnesty and forbidding recapitula- 
tion of the ])ast. For in it are these disadvan- 
tages; it is as the chafing of a sore ; it creates 
the risk of a new quarrel (for the parties will 
never agree as to the proportions of injuries on 
either side) ; and, lastly, it brings it to a matter 
of apologies ; whereas either party would rather 
be thought to have forgiven an injury than to 
have accepted an excuse.] — Melanciithon (on 
vers. 9-12): As the monitor must show sincerity 
and love of truth, and guard against a slander- 
ous love of censure, so in him who is admon- 
ished, there is becoming a readiness to be in- 
structed, and both must keep themselves free 
from (bthweiKia, from an ambitious quarrelsome- 
ness. — Cramer.(ou ver. 10) : To him who is of a 

CHAP. XVIII. 1-24. 


noble sort words of rebuke are more grievous 
than blows, and he yields to the discipline of 
mere words. — Stauks (on ver. 13) : If Goil 
sharply punishes ingratitude, from this it is also 
evident how dear to Hiui, on the olher hand, 
thankfulness must be. — (Un ver, 14): From a 
little spark a great fire may arise (.James iii.5) ; 
but he who buries in the aslies the kindling con- 
tention may thereby avert a great disaster. — 
[TuAPP (on ver. 10) : The fool is beaten, but not 
bent to goodness ; amerced but not amended- — 
(On ver. 13) : To render good for evil is Divine, 
good for good is human, evil for evil is brutish, 
evil for good is devilish. — Bridges (on ver. 15): 
If God justifies the wicked, it is on account of 
righteousness. If he condemn the just, it is on 
the imputation of unrighteousness. Nowhere 
throughout the universe do the moral perfections 
of the Governor of the world shine so gloriously 
as at the Cross of Calvary.] 

Ver. 16-22. Zeltner (on ver. 17): The most 
reliable and faitiiful friend, on whom one may 
depend most confidently in the very time of 
need, is the Lord Jesus. Strive for His friend- 
ship above all things, and thou hast treasure 
enough !—[Arxot (on ver. 17): In the Scrip- 
tures we leai-n where the fountain of true friend- 
ship lies, what is its nature, why its flow is im- 
peded now, and when it shall be all over like tlie 
waves of the sea. Our best friendship is due to 
our best friend. He deserves it and desires it. 
The heart of the man Christ Jesus yearns for the 
reciprocated love of saved men, and grieves when 
it is not given.]. — Starke (on ver. 19) : He who 
first leaves room for one sin falls afterward into 

many others. — Contention and pride are almost 
always sisters, and of a most destructive sort. — 
Vo.\ Gerlach (on ver. 22) : The heart, the 
fountain of life, works to bless the whole of 
man's condition when it is really sound, i. e., 
when the grace of Jesus Christ has healed and 
renewed it. — [Trapp (on ver. 22) : When faith 
Jiath once healed the conscience, and grace hath 
hushed the affection, and composed all within, so 
that there is a Sabbath of spirit, and a blessed 
tranquility lodged in the soul; then the body also 
is vigorous and vigetous, for most part in very 
good plight and healthful constitution, which 
mikes man's life very comfortable. — Bridges 
(on ver. 22) : Liveliness needs a guard lest it 
should degenerate into levity; a grave tempera- 
ment lest it should sink into morbid dei^ression. 
Cliristian principle on both siiles is the princi- 
ple of enlarged happiness and steady consist- 

Ver. 23-28. Starke (on ver. 24) : The more 
one gapes after vanity, the more foolish does the 
heart become. — (On ver. 25): A wise father 
lias indeed now and then a foolish son ; if he has 
not himself perchance deserved this, by neglect 
in education, let him bear his cross with patience. 
— (On ver, 2()): He sins doubly who declares 
evil good, and besides visits the goodness of a 
rigliteous man with penalties. — Berleburg Bible 
(on vers. 27, 28) : It is better to say nothing 
than foolish things. — Von Gerlach (on ver. 28): 
By silence a fool abates sometliing of his sense- 
lessness, and since he gets the opportunity to 
collect himself and to reflect, a beginning of 
wisdom is developed in him. 

y) Admonition to affability, fidelity in friendship, and the other virtues of social life. 

Chap. XVIII. 

1 He that separateth himself seeketh his own i^leasure ; 
against all counsel doth he rush on. 

2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, 
but that his heart may reveal itself. 

3 When wickedness cometh then cometh contempt, 
aud with shameful deeds reproach. 

4 Deep waters are the words of man's mouth ; 
the fountain of wisdom is a flowing brook. 

5 To have regard to the wicked is not good, 
(nor) to oppress the righteous in judgment. 

6 The lips of the fool engage in strife, 
and his mouth calleth for stripes. 

7 The mouth of the i'ool is his destruction, 
and his lips are a snare to his soul. 

8 The words of a slanderer are words of sport, 

but they go down into the innermost parts of the body. 

9 He also who is slothful in his work 
is brother to the destroyer. 


10 A strong tower is the name of Jehovah ; 
the righteous ruuueth to it and is safe. 

11 The possessions of the rich are his strong city, 
and as a high wall in his own conceit. 

12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, 
and before honor is humility. 

13 He that answereth before he hath heard, 
it is folly and shame to him. 

14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, 
but a wounded spirit — who can bear? 

15 An understanding heart gaineth knowledge, 
and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge. 

16 A man's gift maketh room for him, 
and bringeth him before the great. 

17 He that is first is righteous in his controversy; 
then Cometh his neighbor and searcheth him out. 

18 The lot causeth contentions to cease, 
and decideth between the mighty. 

19 A brother resisteth more than a strong city, 

and (such) contentions are as the liars of a palace. 

20 With the fruit of a man's mouth shall his body be satisfied; 
with the revenue of his lips shall he be filled. 

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue ; 
he that loveth it shall eat its fruit. 

22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, 
and shall obtain favor of Jehovah. 

23 The poor shall use entreaties, 
and the rich will answer roughly. 

24 A man of (many) friends will prove himself base, 

but there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. 


Ver. 1. — It would perhaps be admissible with Hitzig (following the LXX and Tulg.) to exchange niXH/ for the rarer 

njXh*? ("Judg. xiv. 4), from which we should obtain the meaning "He that separateth himself seeketh after an occasion 

(of Strife);" Vulg.: Occasimies quserit, qui vult recedere ab amico. For the use of Vp^ with 3 see also Job x. 6. [The E. 

V. in the text understands the 3 as indicating the condition, and so supplying the motive of the seeker; the reading of the 

margin is "according to his desire." H., N., S., M., etc., agree with our author in connecting it with the object desired. 

The views of commentators, which are very div..u-se, may be ibaml in coiisideiable number in Muenscher, in loco. — A.] 
Ver. 3.— Instead of JJt^T we shall be obliged, wiih J. D. Micuaelis, Hitzig, Umbreit, dc, to point J,'C?1 as the parallel 

?l7p (i. e., "infamy, infamous conduct," turpiludo) indicates. 

A'er. 6.— [A masc. verb again with the fem. noun 'jIBty, as in ver. 2; x. 21, 32; xv. 7. — A.] 

Ver. 10. — Without any necessity Hitzig proposes to read □•IT instead of V-IIN and to translate " by it (the name of 

T I T 

Jehovah) riseth up hiah." [Rueetschi (as above, p. 147) concurs in rejecting both TTitzig's emendation and his conception 
of the proposition. He justifies by examples like 1 Kings x 26; 1 Sara xxv. 26; Joshua xxiii. 7, efc, the use of 2 after 

verbs of motion,— and suggests that the concluding participle marks the quicic and sure result of the preceding 
act. — A.j 

Ver. 17. — The K'ri' X3-1 ; the K'thibh is perhaps more appropriately XD'. 

T , T . 

A'er. 19.— The LXX aud Vulg. appear to liave read ^'U'lJ Oor;eou>ecos, adjnvattir) instead of ^'D'D J ; Hitzig proposes 
to read by emendation J'tyi) THN, " to shut out siu is better than a strong tower," etc. 

Ver. 24.— JJ^^nnn*?, which is probably to be derived from the root J7"1, J7>'"1, and to be regarded as the reflexive 
of the Intensive forni (comp. the Niphal form n'lT. chap. xi. 10), must have the copula riTI supplied to give a full verbal 

•'- ■■ T T 

sense (comp. chap. xix. 8): it therefore means '-is to prove himself base, serves for thi.s, to show liimself base (i. c, here 
specifically an uuwortliy comrade, a bad friend)." The alliteration which is doubtless intentional between D'^'l and 

^J?i"ir\n led even the early translators (Syr., Clinld., Vulg., and also Theodot.) to derive the latter word from n>n. asso- 
dare, and accordingly to explain it by "to make one's self a friend, to cultivate friendly intercourse" (comp. Vs. Ixv. 4). 
So recently Hitzig : " There are companions for sociability,"— for hu also reads t^' (or l^H, Mic. vi. 10) for t^'N, appealing 

to the Syr. and Chald., who appear to have read the text in the same way. [Bott. supports this emendation or re.storation 
(? 458, 2,) and proposes wiiliout asserting tlm derivatijn of ibe verb from ^'1, as a denominative (g 1120. 2^]. lint 

jy'X is proved to bo original by the Vulg., Theodoket, etc.; and between clauses a and 6 there appears to be a proper an- 

CHAP. XVIII. 1-24. 


tithesis and Tint merely a cliiii;ix. Tliis strictly antithetic relation is also iiiturl'tM-t'il \vi;h by the method of explanatioa 
adopted by those wlio, liko Ujibreit, Elster, etc., render tlie verb liy '• ruin thelll^elves, make tliemselves trouble ;" ( Ewald's 
conception resembles this, except as it has a stul more artificial double import ■■ must be a friend to trouble ") ; the result 
lollows no less Irom the derivation from I'-ll, juOilare (so the Vers. Veuet.: dcijp <{>t.\<av uitrTc a\a\d^ei.v, and of recent in- 
terpreters Hensler : " He tliat hath friends may exult "). 

[Of the English commentators Holden reimers -'is ready to be ruined;" Noyes, "brings upon himself luin;" Stuakt, 
"will show himself as base;" Muenscher, "will lie mined;" \V:)rds\vorth, "fur Ins own deslructioii, — his late is not to be 
helped by his many friends, but to be ruined by tliein." Of tlie (iermaus not cited by Z., De Wette, '-hat viH Uinrjmrj zu 
scinem UnUrgang ;'^ Bertheau, "w< um sich als scldeclilen zu erwtisen ;" Ki.ue.,"' so wird euiem iibelmitgesjiiell;" t^vunaT, 
"muss sich als schlecht erweisen." — A.] 


1. Ver. 1-9. Against unsociableness, love of 
controversy, and other ways in which an uncha- 
ritable and foolish disposition manifests itself — 
He that separateth himself seeketh after 
his desire, i. e. he who in an unsocial and 
misanthropic spirit separates himself from 
intercourse with others, will as a general 
rule hold in his eye only the satisfaction of his 
own pleasure and his own selfish interest. — 
Against all counsel (wisdom) doth he rush 
on, i. e. against all wise and prudent counsel 
(comp. iii. 21) he sets himself, and will hear 
nothing of it. In respect to the verb, comp. 
remarks on xvii. 14. Uitzig in this passage as 
in that holds to the signification which he liiere 
assumes, and therefore translates, " Against all 
that is fortunate (?) he gnashes his teeth." 

Ver. 2. Compare similar censures of the lo- 
quacity of fools, and their delight in their own 
discourse, as they prefer above all besides to 
hear themselves speak, and gladly display every- 
where their imagined wisdom, — in passages like 
xii. 23 ; xiii. 1(5 ; xv. 2, cfc. 

Ver. 3. When wickedness cometh then 
Cometh contempt. For the sent-iment comp. 
xi. 2. 

Ver. 4. Deep waters are the words of 
man's mouth. "Doep,"i. e. hard to fathom 
and exhaust (xx. 5; Eccles. vii. 24). This is true, 
naturally, only of the words of discreet and 
wise men, who, according to the parallel in 
clause b, are evidently alone intended here. 
Only they indeed can be called a "flowing 
brook," i. e. a brook never drying up, one always 
pouring forth an abundant supply of refreshing 
water; compare a similar phrase in Am. v. 24. 
Others regard the meaning of the second clause 
as contrasted with the iirst, as they either define 
" deep waters " in a bad sense, of dark, obscure, 
enigmatical words (Dodeulein, Ziegler), or, in 
spite of the parallel in xx. 5, read O'DO^'O 'D 
instead of Q'PPJ?. D]0, and understand " waters 
of excavation," and think of the contrast be- 
tween cistern waters which readily fail, and a 
genuine spring of water, Jer. ii. 13 (so Hitzig). 

Ver. 5. To have regard to the w^icked is 
not good. The last phrase used as in xvii. 26. 
The first, lit., " to lift up, to show respect to the 
face of some one" (LXX: ■davfiaaai rrpoauTrov'), as 
in Lev. xix. 15 ; Dent. x. 17, f/c. [Z. renders still 
more specifically "to take part, to take sides," 
etc.J. — With clause b comp. xvii. 23; Isa. x. 2; 
Am. ii. 7, etc.; with the sentiment as a whole, 
xvii. 15. 

Vers. 6 and 7 are in close connection ; for the 
former comp. xix. 29; for the latter, xiii. 3. 
To the idea, which occurs in the parallel pas- 

sage also, of " destruction, or ruin," there is 
here added by way of exemplification the figure 
of a " snare," as employed by huntsmen; comp. 
xii. 13; xiii. 14; xiv. 27. 

Ver. 8 The w^ords of a slanderer are as 
■words of sport. The slanderer, or backbiter, 

as in xvi. 28. The predicative epithet D'OH^rO 
is here, as also in xxvi. 22, where the whole 
verse is literally repeated, very variously inter- 
preted. It is most obvious to go back to a root 

DPI? assumed to be cognate with nn7, "to play, 
to sport " (comp. remarks on xxvi. 10), and ac- 
cordingly to find contrasted the design of the 
inconsiderate words of the backbiter, intended, 
as it were, sportively, and their deeply pene- 
trating and sorely wounding power (see clause 
b). ISo C. B. Micn.vELis, Bertheau, Elster, 
e/c. Others explain ditl'erently : e. i^. Schultexs, 
Umbreit (following the Arabic), as " dainty 
morsels" [so Gesen., Db W., N., M., W.] ; Ew- 
ALD, "as if whispering;" Hitzig, "like soft 
airs;" [Fuerst, "like murmured, mysterious, 
oracular words ;" while the rendering given in 
the E. v., as also by some commentators, sup- 
poses a transposition of the radical consonants 

(for D/H); Bertheau and Stuart agree sub- 
stantially with our author. The whole matter is 
conjectural, the word occurring in the Hebrew 
Scriptures but twice, and no sure analogy exist' 
ing for our guidance. — A.] — Into the inner- 
most parts of the body, lit., "into the cham- 
bers," elc. ; comp. xx. 27, 30; xxvi. 22. 

Ver. 9. He also w^ho is slothful in his 
work is brother of the destroyer, lit., " of 
the master of destruction," — for the participle 
form iTniyO is here impersonal as in Ezek. v. IG : 
"the master of destruction" means "the de- 
stroyer " (xxviii. 23) and here the squanderer, 
who wastes his possessions, the dissipans sua 
opera (Vulg.), and not the highway robber or the 
captain of banditti as Hofmann, Schriflbeiv. XL, 
2, 377, maintains. 

2. Vers. 10-16. Seven proverbs of miscellane- 
ous import, referring especially to confidence in 
God, and humility as the only true wisdom. — A 
Strong tow^er is Jehovah's name; i. e. the 
revealed essence of God, His revelation of Him- 
self in the history of salvation, with its blessed 
results, shows itself to those who confide in it, 
who in a childlike spirit submit themselves to its 
guidance, as a stronghold securely protecting 
them (soPs. Ixi.B (4).) [Kueetschi: "Thename 
always designates Himself, as man knows Ilim, 
as he receives Him to his knowledge and faith, 
and bears Him in his heart. It is precisely what 
man knows of God that is for him a strong tower. 
When man stumbles or falters it is precisely be- 
cause he has not run to this refuge, has, as it 
were, not reminded himself where his strong 



tower is"]. — The righteous runnetli to it 
and is safe, lit., "aiul is lifted up," i. e. gains 
a high and at the same time sheltered station, 
where the shafts of his enemies can do hiui no 
harm. Comp. another form of the same verb in 
xxix. 2-5. 

Ver. 11. With clause a comp. x. 15. — And as 
a high wall in his own conceit. iiT3:7p3 
(comp. Ts. l.Kxiii. 7) the old Vers. Venet. renders 
quite correctly by ev <pav7aaia ahrjiv, while the 
Vulg., the Chald., etc., read in3t:/03, "in his 
enclosure," an expression which would be super- 
fluous with the "high wall." [Fuerst, starting 
from this ideh, of figured or carved work, furni- 
ture, etc , understands the allusion to be to a 
"hall of state." Neither the simple meaning 
nor the complicated construction seems admissi- 
ble ; "and as behind a high wall is he in his 
hall of state." — A.] 

Ver. 12. Withrt compare xvi. 18; with b, xv. 33. 

Ver. 13. Compare Ecclesiast. xi. 8. 

Ver. 14. The spirit of a man w^ill sustain 
his infirmity, lit., "supports his sickness." 
The spirit that does this is naturally a strong, 
courageous spirit (comp. Num. xxvii. 18), the 
opposite of a "smitten" spirit, which rather 
needs, according to the second clause, that one 
sustain it. Furthermore the n?"! in clause a is 
used as a masculine, because it here appears en- 
gaged in the performance of manly action ; in 
clause b, on the contrary, as a feminine, because 
it is represented as powerless and suffering. 

Ver. 15. Comp. xiv. 38; xv. 14. — The ear of 
the ■wise seeketh know^ledge. The ear here 
comes into consideration as an organ working in 
the service of the heart; for it is properly only 
the heart that pursues the acquisition of wisdom, 
and which actually acquires it. — not indeed with- 
out the co-operative service of tiie senses (espe- 
cially hearing, as the symbol and organ of obe- 
dience, Ps. xl. 7). 

Ver. 16. A man's gift maketh room for 
him [and nowhere more than in the East; see 
e. g. Thomson's Land and Bonk. XL, 2S, 369]. 
?r>'D here and in xix. 6 undoubtedly equivalent to 

I T ~ 

inii' in chap. xvii. 8, and therefore used of law- 
ful presents, and proofs of generosity, whose 
beneficent results are here emphasized, as also 
there, without any incidental censure or irony 
(as many of the old expositors, and also Umbreit 
hold). Altogether too far-fetched is Hitzig's 
idea that the "gift" is here "spiritual endow- 
ments or abilities," and is therefore substantially 
like the xApi'^."f- of the N. T. 

3. Vers. 17-21. Ag.iinst love of contention and 
misuse of tlie tongue. — He that is first is 
righteous in his controversy ; i. e-. one thinks 
tliat, he is altogetlier and only right in a disputed 
matter, — then sud<lenly comes the other and 
searches him out, i. e. forces him to a new exami- 
nation of the matter at issue, and so brings the 
truth to light, viz. that the first was after all not 
right. Comp. the same verb in xxviii. 11 ; also 
Job xxix. 16, where however the investigator is 
the judge, and not one of the two cantending 

Ver 18. Comp. xvi. 3.3.— And decidethbe- 
tw^een the mighty, /. e. it keeps from hostile 

collision those who in reliance on their physical 
strength are specially inclined to quarrel. Comp. 
Heb. vi. 16, where a like salutary influence is 
claimed for the judicial oath as here for the lot. 

Ver. 19. A brother (estranged) resisteth 
more than a strong city. The participle 
>'i^£)J, which, according to the accents, is predi- 
cate of the clause, is to be taken in the sense of 
"setting one's self in opposition, resisting." 
Now a brother who resisteth or defieth more 
than a strong city is necessarily an alienated or 
litigious brother. Furthermore the whole con- 
nection of the verse points to this closer limita- 
tion of the idea of "brother," and especially 
the second clause, which aims to represent the 
difficulty of subduing the passion once set 
free, under the figure of the bars of a fortress, 
hard to thrust back or to burst. 

Ver. 20. Comp. xii. 14; xiii. 2. 

Ver. 21. Death and life are in the power 
of the tongue. Comp. James iii. 5 sq. ; and 
also the Egyptian proverb: y'/foaaa rvxri. yluaaa 
6ai/j.uv (Pi.uTARcii, Is. p. 378). — He thatloveth 
it shall eat of its fruit; /. e. he that suitably 
employs himself with it, employs much diligence 
in using it in discourse, whether it be with good 
or bad intent, as ev/^oyibv or KaKn?.()-}(Jr, blessing 
or cui-sing, (James iii. 9; comp. 1 Cor. xii. 3), 
will experience in himself the effects of its use 
or its abuse. Against the one-sided application 
of this "loving the tongue" to loquacity (Hit- 
ziG), is to be adduced the double nature of the 
expression in the first clause, as well as the ana- 
logy of the preceding verse. — The LXX (ol npa- 
Tovvreg avrf/g) seem to have read ri'm^^ (those 
laying hold upon it) instead of iT^nX, but this 
reading can hardly have been the original; 
comp. rather viii. 17, where the verb "to love" 
expresses essentially the same idea as here, 
that of a cherishing and cultivating or careful 

4. Vers. 22-24. Of conjugal, neighborly and 
frieiully affection. — Whoso findeth a ■wife 
findeth a good thing. It is naturally a good 
wife that is meant, a partner and head of the 
household such as she should be, a wife who 
really stands by her hu.sband's side as a "help- 
meet for him" (Gen. ii. 18, 20). The epithet 
"good," which the LXX, Vulg , etc., express, is 
therefore superfluous (comp. also xix. 14; xxxi. 
10), and is probably quite as little an element in 
the original as that which in the same version is 
appended to our verse: "He that putleth away 
a good wife putteth away happiness, and he that 
keepeth an adulteress is foolish and ungoiily." 
With clause b compare furthermore iii. 13; xii. 
2; Ecclesiast. xxvi. 3. [Arxot's view is more 
defensible: The text which intimates that a pru- 
dent wife is from the Lord tells a truth, but it is 
one of the most obvious of truths: the text 
which intimates that a wife is a favor fi-om the 
Lord, without expresslj' stipulating for licr per- 
sonal character, goes higher up in the hi!^tory 
of providence, and deeper into the wisdom of 
God. So substantially Mcffet, L.vwsox and 

Ver. 23. The poor useth entreaties, but 
the rich answereth roughly, lit., " opposeth 

CHAP. XVIII. 1-24. 


hard things " (contrasted with the supplications 
of clause «). Comp. the similar proverbs di- 
rected against tlie hardness of heart of the rich : 
chap. xiv. 21 ; xvii. 5. 

Ver. 24. A man of many friends will 
prove himsslf base. The "man of friends." 
of many friends, the "friend of all the world," 
will show himself a bad friend, — he with whom 
is contrasted in clause b the instance which is 
indeed rare and isolated, of a true friendly love, 
whicli endures in every extremity (xvii. 17), and 
even surpasses the devotion of oae who is a 
brother by nature. See Critical notes for an 
exhibition of the many meanings found in the 
verse, etc. 


That the chapter before us treats mainly of the 
virtues of social life, of sociability, affability, 
love of friends, compassion, etc., appears not 
merely from its initial and concluding sentences, 
the first of which is directed against misanthro- 
pic selfishness, the latter against thoughtless 
and inconstant universal friendship, or seeming 
friendship, but also from the various rebukes 
which it contains of a contentious, quarrelsome 
and partizan disposition, e. g. vers. 5, 6, 8, 17-21. 
But in addition, most of the propositions that 
seem to be more remote, may be brought under 
this general category of love to neighbors as tlie 
living basis and sum of all social virtues ; so 
especially the testimonies against wild, foolish 
talking (vers. 2, 7, 13, comp. 4 and 15); that 
against bold impiety, proud dispositions and 
hardness of heart against the poor (vers. 3, 12, 
23) ; that against slothfulness in the duties of 
one's calling, foolish confidence in earthly riches, 
and want of true moral courage and confidence 
in God (vers. 9-11; comp. 14). Nay, even the 
commendation of a large liberality as a means 
of gaining for one's self favor and influence in 
human society (ver. 16), and likewise the praise 
of an excellent mistress of a family, are quite 
closely connected with this main subject of the 
chapter, which admonishes to love toward one's 
fellow-men; they only show the many-sided 
completeness with which this theme is here 

[Ch.\lmeks : — Verse 2 is a notabilo. Let me 
restrain the vanity or the excessive appetite for 
sympathy which inclines me to lay myself bare 
before my fellow-men. — Lawson (on ver. 13) : — 
"Ministers of the word of God are instructed by 
this rule, not to be rash with their mouths to 
utter anything as the word of God in the pulpit, 
but to consider well what they are to say in the 
name of tlie Lord ; and to use due deliberation 
and inquiry before they give their judgment in 
cases of conscience, lest they should make sins 
and duties which God never made, e/c."]. 

Therefore as a homily on the chapter as a 
whole: — Of love (true love for the sake of God 
and Christ) as the "bond of perfectness," which 
must enfold all men, and unite them in one fel- 
lowsliip of the children of God. — Or again: On 
the dilference between true and false friendship 
(with special reference to ver. 24.) — Stocker: — 
Against division (alienation, contention) between 

friends. Its main causes are: 1) Within the 
sphere of the Church impiety (vers. 1-4) ; 2j 
Within the sphere of civil life, pride and injus- 
tice (vers. 5-10) ; 3) In domestic life, want of 
love (vers. 19-24). — Calwer Ilandbuch :— Testimony 
against the faults which chiefly harm human so- 

Vers. 1-9. Geier (on ver. 1) : — Love of sepa- 
ration [singularitatis studium) is the source of 
most contentions in Church and State. — (On ver. 
4) : — Eloquence is a noble thing, especially when 
its source is a lieart hallowed by tiie Holy Ghost. 
— Berleburg Bible: — When the soul has once at- 
tained steadfastness in God, then words go forth 
from the moutli like deep waters, to instruct 
others and to help them; for it is a spring of 
water, inasmuch as the soul is in the Fountain. 
— Starke (on ver. 6) : — Calumniators do not 
merely often start contentions; they themselves 
seldom escape unsmitten. — Von Gerlach (on 
ver. 9) : — Slothfulness leads to the same end as 

Vers. 10-16. Von Gerlach (on ver. 10): — The 
name of Jehovah (He that is) reveals to us His 
eternally immutable essence; in this there is 
given to mutable man living here in time the 
firmest ground of confidence, by which he may 
hold liimself upright in trouble. — Starke (on 
ver. 11): — Money and property can, it is true, 
accomplish much in outwaid matters ; but in the 
hour of temptation and in the day of judgment 
it is all merely a broken reed. — [Briuges (on 
vers. 10, 11): — Every man is as his trust. A 
trust in God communicates a divine and lofty 
spirit. We feel that we are surrounded with 
God, and dwelling on high with Him. A vain 
trust brings a vain and proud heart — ^the imme- 
diate forerunner of ruin. — Bates (on ver. 10, 
11) : — Covetousness deposes God, and places the 
world, the idol of men's heads and hearts, on 
His throne ; it deprives Him of His regalia. His 
royal prerogatives, etc. The rich man will trust 
God no further than according to visible supplies 
and means]. — Zeltner (on ver. 14) : — Wouldst 
thou have a sound body ; then see to it that thou 
hast a joyful lieart and a good courage, a heart 
which is assured of the grace of God and well 
content with His fatherly ordaining. — [T. Adams 
(on ver. 14) : The pain of the body is but the 
body of pain ; the very soul of sorrow is the 
sorrow of the soul. — Flavel:— No poniards are 
so mortal as the wounds of conscience. — Water- 
L.\ND : — On the misery of a dejected mind]. 

Vers. 17-21. [Lord Bacon (on ver. 17) : — In 
every cause the first information, if it have dwelt 
for a little in the judge's mind, takes deep root, 
and colors and takes possession of it ; insomuch 
that it will hardly be washed out, unless either 
some clear falsehood be detected, or some deceit 
in the statement thereof .^Arxot : — Self-love 
is the twist in the lieart within, and self-interest 
is the side to which the variation irom right- 
eousness steadily tends in fallen and distorted 
nature.] — Stauke (on ver. 17): — He that hath 
a just cause is well pleased when it is thoroughly 
examined ; for his innocence comes out the more 
clearly to view. — Zeltner (on ver. 19) : — The 
sweeter the wine the sharper the vinegar; ac- 
cordingly the greater the love implanted by 
nature, the more bitter the hate where this love 



is violated. — [TRAPp(onver. 19): — No war breaks 
out sooner or lasts longer, than that among 
divines, or as that, about the sacrament ; a sacra- 
ment of love, a communion, and yet the occasion, 
by accident, of much dissension]. — Tabimjen 
Bible (on ver. 20, 21) : — Speali and be silent at 
the right time and in the divine order, and thou 
shall be wise and blessed. 

Ver. 22. Luther (marginal note on ver. 22) : 
The married who is truly Christian knows that, 
even though sometimes things are badly matched, 
still his marriage relation is well pleasing to 
God, as His creation and ordinance ; and what 
he therein does or endures, passes as done or 
suffered for God. — Stocicer : Praise of an ex- 
cellent wife [prohmconjugis comniendatio) : 1) how 
such a one may be found; 2) what blessing her 
husband has in her. — Zeltner: The great mys- 
tery of Christ and His church (Eph. v. 32) must 
ever be to married Christians the type and model 
of their relation. — Von Gerlach : The great 

blessing of a pious wife can only be found, not 
won or gained by one's own merit. 

Vers. 2.3, 24. Starke (on ver. 23): If poor 
men must often enough knock in vain at the 
doors and hearts of the rich of this world, this 
should be to them only an impulse, to plead and 
to call the more on God who surely hears them. 
(On vers. 24): Pour out your heart before the 
Lord in every extremity ; He is a friend whose 
friendship never dies out. — Von Gerlach (oa 
ver. 24) : The number of one's friends is not the 
thing, — they are often false, unfaithful, and for- 
sake us in misfortunn. Let none despair for that 
reason; tliere are Iriends who are more closely 
and intimately joini'il to us than even brothers. — ■ 
[Arnot: The brother and the friend are, through 
the goodness of God, with more or less of imper- 
fection, often found among our fellows; but they 
are complete only in Him who is the fellow of 
the Almighty.] 

6) Admonition to humility, mildness, and gentleness. 
Chap. XIX. 

1 Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity 
than he that is perverse in speech and is a fooL 

2 Where the soul hath no knowledge there likewise is no good, 
and he that is of a hasty foot goeth astray. 

3 The foolishness of man ruiueth his way, 
yet against Jehovah is his heart angry. 

4 Wealth maketh many friends, 

but the poor is parted from his friend. 

5 A false witness shall not go unpunished, 
and he that speaketh lies shall not escape. 

6 Many court the favor of the noble, 

and every one is friend to him that giveth. 

7 All the brethren of the poor hate him, 

how much more doth his acquaintance withdraw ; — 
he seeketh words (of friendship) and there are none. 

8 He that getteth understanding loveth his soul, 
he that keepeth wisdom shall find good. 

9 A false witness shall not go unpunished, 
he that speaketh lies sliall perish. 

10 Luxury becometh not the fool, 

much less that a servant rule over princes. 

11 The discretion of a man delayeth his anger, 
and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. 

12 The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion, 
but as dew upon the grass is his favor. 

13 A foolish son is trouble upon trouble to his father, 
and the contentions of a wife tire a continual dropping. 

14 House and riches are an inheritance from fathers, 
but from Jehovah cometh a prudent wife. 

CHAP. XIX. 1-29. 17; 

15 Slothfulness sinketh into inaction, 
and an idle soul shall hunger. 

16 He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his soul, 
he that despiseth his ways shall die. 

17 He lendeth to the Lord, that hath pity on the poor, 
and his bounty will He requite for him. 

18 Correct thy son while there is still hope, 
but to slay him thou shalt not seek. 

19 A man of great wrath suffereth punishment, 
for if thou wardest it off thou must do it again. 

20 Hearken to counsel and receive instruction, 
that thou niayest be wise afterward. 

21 There are many devices in a man's heart, 
but Jehovah's counsel, that shall stand. 

22 A man's delight (glory) is his beneficence, 
and better is a poor man than a liar. 

23 The fear of Jehovah tendeth to life; 

one abideth satisfied, and cannot be visited of evil. 

24 The slothful thrusteth his hand in the dish, 
and will not even raise it to his mouth again. 

25 Smite the scorner and the simple will be wise, 
reprove the prudent and he will understand wisdom. 

26 He that doeth violence to his father, and chaseth away his motlier, / 
is a son that bringeth shame and causeth disgrace. 

27 Cease, my son, to hear instruction 
to depart from the words of wisdom. 

28 A worthless witness scoffeth at judgment, 

and the mouth of the wicked devoureth mischief. 

29 Judgments are prepared for scorners, 
and stripes for the back of fools. 


Ver. 15. AU'igether unnecessarily HiTzia proposes to read TDj"1 instead of TSH and Dmn instead ol 

. _ ' T : 

nOT^n, and translates " slutlitulue:^ gives tasteless herbs to eat." [K. calls this a "remarkable alteration of the text;" 

T •• : - 
and BUEETSCHI pronounces it "nothing but a shrewd fancy of Hitzig's"]. 

Ver. 16. Instead of the K'thibh iTD-l') "shall be put to death," (the familiar expression of the Mosaic law for the 
infliction of the death penalty), the K'ri reads more mildly j"|!|0'. which is probably original in chap. xv. 10, but not 


here. — Instead of TlTI^ IIitzig reads in accordance with Jer. iii. 13 TI13 : " He that scattereth his ways," but by this 

process reaches a meaning undoubtedly much too artificial, which furthermore is not sufficiently justified by an appeal to 
xi. 21 ; Job xxxi. 7. [While Gesen. makes the primary meaning of PITS " to tread under foot," Fuerst makes it "to 

T T 

scatter, divide, waste," and interprets the " dividing one's ways" as a want of conformity to the one established worstiip. 
This is in his view the antithesis to ■' keeping the cummandment." The only other passage in which he finds this literal 
meaning of the verb is Ps. Ixxiii. 20, wht-re Dii Wettb (see Coram, in loco) admits that this would be a simpler completion 
of the verse, but thinks himself obliged to take the verb, as has usually been done, in the sense of '• despise." Fuerst's 
rendering and antithesis seem preferable. — A.]. 

Ver. 19. Instead of the K'thibh ^TJ (which would probably require to be explained by "hard" or " frequent," as 
T : 
ScHULTENS and Ewald explain it from the Arabic), we must give the preference to the K'ri, which also has the support of 

the early translators [Fuerst takes the same view]. Uitzig's emendation, 70 j instead of '71J1 (he that dealeth in 

T : 
anger) is therefore superfliious. 

Ver. 23. J?1 " Calamity, evil" is attached to the passive verb TpD' as an accusative of more exact limitation. — 
UlTZlG reads instead of TJi)'' nn£3', so that the resulting meaning is : " one stretches himself (?) rests, fears no 
sorrow " (?). 

Vur. 25. n'Znn in clause 6 is either to be regarded as an unusual Imperative form (= nDID), [so B., M., S.], or, 
which is probably preferal le, as a finite verb with an indefinite pronoun to be supplied as its subject (rt^, quisquam, EiiKr, 
one); so Meeckb, Hiizig. [Fuerst calls it an Inf. coustr., and BoTT. would without hesitation read n'Dlj^ (2 1051, 

Ver. 27. HiTzic, alters _J^"bu?7 to "['OB'S which .according to Arabic analogies is to be interpreted " to be rebellious, 
to reject." 




1. Ver. 1-7. Aclmon. ions to meekness and ten- 
derness as they are to be munifested especially 
toward tlie poor. — Better is a poor man that 
walketh in his integrity than he that is 
perverse in speech and is a fool. The 
"crooked in lips" (comp. the crooked or per- 
verse in heart, xi. 20; xvii. 120) is here doubtless 
the proud man who haughtily and scornfully mis- 
uses his lips; for to refer the expression to 
strange and false utterances is less natural on 
account of Jhe antithesis to " the poor " in clause 
a. The ideas contrasted are on the one hand 
that of the "poor" and therefore humble, and 
«' perverse of lips," and on the other hand the pre- 
dicates to these conceptions, "walking in inno- 
cence," and the "fool" {i. e., foolish and un- 
godly at the same time, the direct opposite of 
humble innocence). There is therefore no need 

of substituting some such word as TLy;^ (rich, 

mighty) for Vp3 (the fool), as the Syr., Vulg. 
and HiTziG do, nor yet of conceiving of the fool as 
the "rich fool," as most of the later interpreters 
judge. Chap, xxviii. 6, where, with a perfect 
identity in the first clauses, the "rich" is after- 
ward mentioned instead of the "fool," cannot de- 
cide the meaning of this latter expression, because 
the second member differs in other respects also 
from that of the proverb before us, "his ways" 
being mentioned instead of "his lips." 

Ver. 2. Where the soul hatli no knoTV- 
ledge there likewise is no good. DJ, also, 
stands separated by Ilijperbaton from the word 
to which it immediately relates, as in chap. xx. 
11 (see remarks above on xiii. 10) ; the " not- 
knowing" of the soul, is by the parallel "of 
hasty foot," in clause b, more exactly defined as 
a want of reflection and consideration; the soul 
finally, is here essentially the desiring soul, or 
if one chooses, the "desire," the very longing 
after enjoyment and possession (comp. xiii. 2; 
xvi. 26). So likewise " he that hasteth with bis 
feet" is undoubtedly to be conceived of as one 
striving fiercely and passionately for wealth ; 
comp. the " hasting to be rich," chap, xxvii. 20, 
and also 1 Tim. vi. 9, 10. 

Ver. 3. The foolishness of man ruineth 

his Tvay. The verb ^^D is not " to make rug- 
ged or uneven" (Umbreit, Elster) but prsecipi- 
tare, " to hurl headlong, throw prostrate, bring 
suddenly down," which is its ordinary meaning; 
comp. xiii. G ; xxi. 12. The verb in clause b is 
to rage, to murmur, /. e., here to accuse Jehovah 
as the author of the calamity ; comp. Ex. xvi. 8; 
Lam. iii. 39; Ecclesiast. xv. 11 sq. 

Ver. 4. Comp. xiv. 20; also, below, vers. 6 sq. 
— But the poor is parted from his friend, 
that is, because the latter wishes to have no fur- 
ther acquaintance with him, separates his way 
wholly from hiin; comp. ver. 7, b. 

Ver. 5. A false witness shall not go un- 
punished; comp. xvii. 5. and for the exi)ression 
"ultereth or breatheth out lies" in clause b, 
comp. chap. vi. 19; xiv. 5. The entire proverb 
occurs again in ver. 9, literally repeated as far 

as the " shall not escape " at the conclusion, for 
which in the second instance there appears 
" shall perish." HnziG it is true proposes also 
the exchange for the phrase "he that speaketh 
lies " in 9, b, " he that breatheth out evil ;" but 
t lie LXX can hardly be regarded as sufficiently 
reliable witnesses for the originality of this di- 
vergent reading. 

Ver. G. Many court the favor of the no- 
ble, lit. "stroke the face," i. e., flatter him (Job 
xi. 19) who is noble and at the same time liberal, 
him who is of noble rank (not precisely "a 
prince " in the specific sense, Elster) and at the 
same time of noble disposition, comp. xvii. 7, 26. 
If accordingly the "noble" expresses something 
morally valuable and excellent, the "gift" in 
clause b cannot express anj'thing morally repre- 
hensible, but must rather be employed in the 
sauv5 good sense as in xviii. 16. "The man of 
a gift " will therefore be the generous, he who 
gives cheerfully, and the " aggregate " or 

"mass" of friends (r?.!^ '3) whom he se- 
cures by his gifts, will be lawfully gained friends 
and not bribed or hired creatures. The right 
conception is expressed as early as the transla- 
tion of the Vulg., while the LXX, Chald. and Syr., 
embodying the common assumption which finds 
in the verse a censure of unlawful gifts for bri- 
bery, go so far as to read J,*'in~73 " every 
wicked man " (na^ 6 Kanuc, etc.). 

Ver. 7. Comp. ver. 4, b. — How much more 
do his acquaintance w^ithdraw^ from him. 
^"}0 (comp. remarks on chap. xii. 26) we shall 
be obliged to fake here as an abstract with a col- 
lective sense (" his friendship "^ his friends), 
for only in this way is the plural of the verb to 
be explained (for which Hitzig arbitrarily pro- 
poses to write Pn")'). — He seeketh words (of 
friendship) — and there are none. In some 
such way as this we must explain the third 
clause, with which this verse seems remarkably 
enriched (comp. Umbreit and Elster on the 
passage) ; the K'thibh is to be adhered to, [so 
Bott. II., p. 60, n. 4) which evidently gives a 

better meaning than the K'ri, IPI lS in interpret- 
ing which so as to conform to the context ex- 
positors have vainly labored in many ways (c. ff. 
Ewald: "he that seeketh words, to him they 
belong;" in like manner Bertueau). — The LXX 
instead of this third clause, which does indeed 
stand in an exceptional form, like the fragmen- 
tary remnant of a longer proverb, have two whole 
verses; the second of these: 6 tvcMo. KaKorroiuv 
TE?.eaioi>pyEl KaKiav, ug 6e epsdO^ei ?.6ynvg, ov aw&fj- 
aerai ["he that does much harm perfects mis- 
chief; and he that uses provoking words shall 
not escape:" Brenton's Transl. of the LXX], 
seems at least to come tolerably near to the ori- 
ginal sense of the passage. Hitzio through se- 
veral emendations obtains from this the sense 
" He that is after gossip hatchetli mischief, 

hunting after words which are nothing." 
Otiiers, as Bertueau, c. ff., infer from the ov 
cw^'/aerat of the LXX, that the original text in- 
stead of ri?Sn X7 (they are not) exhibited 
£373] X7 (shall not escape), but they supply 

CHAP. XIX. 1-29. 


no definite proof tli:it, tliis is original. At an.y 
rate we must eoncluile tliat our present text is 
defective, iaasniuck as verses of three members 
in the main division of tlie Book of Proverbs 
wliich is now before us occur nowhere else. 
(This is otherwise, it is true, in Division I.; see 
remarlvs above on chap. vii. 22, 23, and also in 
the supplement of Hezekiah's men: Comp. In- 
trod.. ?^ 14). 

2. Vers. 8-17. Further admonitions to mild- 
ness, patience, pity, and other prominent mani- 
festations of true wisdom. — He that getteth 
understanding (comp. xv. 32) loveth his 
soul; comp. the opposite, viii. 36; xxix. 2-4. 

For the construction of the predicate 3i£3 X)^p7 
in clause b compare notes on xviii. 24 ; for the 
expression of chap. xvi. 20, etc. 

Ver. 9. Comp. notes on ver. 5. 

Ver. 10. Luxury becometh not the fool. 
Comp. xvii. 7 ; xxvi. 1 ; and for clause b, xxx. 
22; Eccles. x. 7; Ecclesiast. xi. 5. — Inasmuch as 
luxury naturally and originally belongs only to 
princes and the like exalted personages, clause b 
stands as the climax of a. That "servants rule 
over princes " will, it is true, not readily occur 
among common slaves in their relation to their 
masters ; it may however the more easily happen 
at the courts of oriental despots, who frequently 
enough exalt their favorites of humble rank 
above all the nobles of the realm. 

Ver. 11. The discretion of a man delay- 
eth his anger, makes him patient, lit. "length- 
ens, prolongs liis anger," [in the sense of defers 
rather than extends it ; his patience is what is 
"lengthened out " and not his passion]; comp. 
Isa. xlviii. 9, as well as chap. xiv. 17, above, in 
regard to impatience as the token of a fool. — 
And his glory is to pass over transgression, 
lit., "to go away over transgression," comp. 
Mic. vii. 18. 

Ver. 12. Roaring like that of a lion is the 
v/rath of a king ; comp. xxvi. 2 ; also xvi. 14 ; 
xxviii. 15. With the figure of the sweetly re- 
freshing dew in clause b compare xvi. 15 ; Ps. 
Ixxii. G. 

Ver. 13. A foolish son is stroke upon 
stroke to his father. The plural " troubles, 
calamities," expresses the repetition, the suc- 
cession of many calamities; Umbreit and HiT- 
ziG therefore will translate " ruin upon ruin ;" 
comp. also ZtEOLER " a sea of evils." — And the 
brawling of a wife is a continual drop- 
ping ; for this latter phrase see also xxvii. 1-3; 
a pertinent figure, reminding of the distilling of 
the dew in 12, 6, although contrasted with it in 
its impression. TJie scolding words of the bail 
wife are as it were the single drops of the steady 
rain, as her perpetual temper pours itself out. 

Ver. 14. .Comp. xviii. 22, and the German and 
English proverb according to which " marriages 
Are made in heaven" ["a proverb which," says 
Archbishop Trench, "it would have been quite 
impossible for all antiquity to have produced, or 
even remotely to have approached"]. — Ver. 15. 
Slothfulness sinketh into torpor ; lit., 
"causeth deep sleep to fall" (comp. Gen. ii. 21), 
brings upon man stupor and lethargy; comp. vi. 
9, 10. — With clause b compare x. 4; xii. 23. — 
Ver. 16. With clause a comp. xvi. 17 ; Eccles. viii. 

5. — He that taketh no heed to his w^ays 
shall die. — See critical notes. — Ver. 17. — With 
clause a compare xiv. 31 ; with b, xii. 14; with 
the general sentiment (which appears also in the 
Ai-abic collection of Meidani), Eccles. xi. 1 ; 
Matth. XXV. 40; Luke vi. 30-85. 

8. Vers. 18-21. Admonition to gentleness in 
parents and children, with respect to the work 
of education. — Correct thy son while there 
is still hope, — that is, that he may reform and 
come to the true life. This last phrase "while 
there is hope" appears also in Job xi. 18 ; Jer. 
xxxi. 16 sq. — With 6 compare xxiii. 13. [Rueet- 
scHi calls attention to the deep import of this se- 
cond clause, ordinarily misunderstood. It is not 
a caution against excess of severity, but against 
the cruel kindness that kills by withholding sea- 
sonable correction. He suggests as further pa- 
r.-iUels xiii. 24 ; iii. 12 ; xxii. 15 ; Ecclesiast. xxx. 

Ver. 19. A man of great wrath suffereth 
punishment. — One "great of wrath" is one 
wlio has great wrath (Dan. xi. 44; 2 Kings xx!i. 
13); comp. .Ter. xxxii. 19 : "One gi-oat in coun- 
sel." — For if thou wardest it off thou must 

do it again. — For this use of /'^r}, lit., " deli- 
ver," — with reference to the ruinous action of 
angi-y and contentious men specifically to " avert 
or ward off" (Hitzig), comp. 2 Sam. xiv. 6. 
[But this very passage favors more the common 
rendering ; for the object is personal, which re- 
quires the meaning "take away, i. e., deliver," 
while the rendering preferred by Z. and Hitzio 

demands for the object the DJJ?, punishment, 
of clause a. De W., B., N., S., M., W. agree 
with this view, while K. supports the general 
idea of Z. — A.] The last phrase can express 
only the idea that such an interposition must be 
frequently repeated, and therefore that in spite 
of all efforts to the contrary the wrathful mau 
must still at last fall into calamity and punish- 
ment. The entire verse accordingly gives a rea- 
son for the dissuasion in ver. 18 against too vio- 
lent passion in the correction of disobedient 
children [but see the supplementary note in re- 
gard to the true meaning of clause i] ; yet this 
is not done in any such way that the " thou must 
do it again" would refer to frequent corrections, 
and so to the sure prospect of real reformation, 
as many of the older expositors maintain. 

Ver. 20. Comp. xii. 15. Afterward — lit., in 
thy future, comp. Job iii. 7; xlii. 12. — Ver. 21 
gives the constant direction toward God which 
the wise conduct of tlie well trained son must 
take during his later life. Comp. xvi. 1, 9. 

4. Vei-s. 22-29. Miscellaneous admonitions, re- 
lating especially to humanity, truthfulness, the 
fear of God, etc. — A man's delight is his be- 
neficence. — "Ipn (comp. note on iii. 3) is here 
to be taken in the sense of the active manifesta- 
tion of love, or charitableness, for it is not the 
loving disposition, but only its exhibition in li- 
beral" benefactions and off'erings prompted by 
love to others, that can be the object of man's 
longing, desire or delight: [Fuerst renders 
"zTer," ornament, honor.] Comp. Acts xx. 35: 
"It is more blessed to give than to receive." 
With this conception of clause a the preference 



expressed in b best corresponds, — that of the 
poor and lowly to the "man of lies," i. e., the 
rich man who promises aid, and might give it, 
but as a selfish, hard-hearted man, still fails to 
render it. — The LXXandVulg. deviate somewhat 
in the first clause from the literal rendering of 
the original. From their readings, which more- 
over differ somewhat the one from the other, 
HiTzio has by combination reached what he rep- 
resents as the original meaning: "From the 
revenue (?) of a man comes his kind gift." 

Ver. 2-3. With a compare xiv. 27. — One 
abideth satisfied and cannot be visited of 
evil, — 1)ecause .Jeliovah does not suffer sucli as 
fear Him to hunger (s. 3), but in every way pro- 
tects, promotes and blesses them (x. 29 ; xiv. 20 ; 
xviii. 10, etc.). The subject of the verbs in clause 
b is strictly the possessor of the fear of God, the 
devout man. 

Ver. 24. The slothful thrusteth his hand 
in the dish, rlc. — .\n allusion to the well-known 
method of eating among Oriental nations, wliich 
needs no knife and fork. A similar figure to 
characterize the slothful is found in chap. xii. 27. 
Compare also the proverb in chap. xxvi. lo, 
■which in the first half corresponds literally with 
the one before us. 

Ver. 2-">. Smite the scorner and the sim- 
ple ^Arill be ^vise. — Since the scorner, accord- 
ing to chap. xiii. 1 (see notes on this passage), 
" heareth not rebuke," but is absolutely irre- 
claimable, the simple who "becom.^tli wise" in 
view of the punishment with which the other is 
visited, will be such a one as is not yet quite a 
scorner, but is in danger of becoming so, and 
therefore must be deferred by fear of the pe- 
nalty. In contrast with this " simple" one who 
walks in the right way only bj^ constraint (comp. 
remarks on i. 4), the "man of understanding," 
he who is really prudent, learns at once on mere 
and simple reproof, because he has in general 
finer powers to discriminate between good and 
evil (Heb. v. 14), and has moreover a reliable 
tendency to good. 

Ver. 26. He that doeth violence to his 
father. — The verb IIH signifies "to assail vio- 
lently, roughly, to misuse," as in xxiv. 15; Ps. 
xvii. 9. — nn^n is then " to cause to flee, thrust 
or chase away." — With b compare xiii. 5 ; with 
lJ/'3^ in particidar x. 5. 

Ver. 27. Cease, my son, to hear instruc- 
tion to depart from the -words of w^isdom. — 
Two conceptions are possible: 1) The "instruc- 
tion" is that of wisdom itself, and therefore a 
good, wholesome discipline that leads to life; 
then the meaning of the verse can be only ironi- 
cal, presenting under the appearance of a dis- 
suasion from discipline in wisdom a very urgent 
counsel to hear and receive it (so Ew.^ld, Bkr- 
TirE.\u, Et.STER). [To call this "ironical" 
seems to us a misnomer. "Cease to hear in- 
struction only to despise it." What can be more 
direct or literally pertinent? Cease to iiear 
"for the departing," i. e., to tha end, with the 
sole result of departure. — .\.] 2) Tlie "instruc- 
tion " is evil and perverted, described in clause 
b as one that catises departure from the words of 
wisdom. Then tlie admonition is one seriously 
intended (thus most of the old expositors, and 

UniBREiT [W., H., N., S., etc.l). We must chooso 
for ourselves between the two interpretations, 
although the connection in which the proverb 
stands with the preceding verse seems to speak 
decidedly for the foriiier of the two. 

Ver. 28. A worthless ■witness scoffeth at 
judgment — /. c, by tne lies which he uttrrs. — 
And the mouth of the ■wicked devoureth 
mischief, — i. e., mischief is the object of liis pas- 
sionate desire; it is a real enjoyment to him to 
produce calamity ; he swallows it eagerly as if 
it were a sweet fruit (Job xx. 12 ; Is. xxviii. 4) : 
he " drinketh it in like water " (Job xv. IG). Thus 
apprehended the expression " to devour mischief 
or wrong" has nothing at all offensive in it, and 
we do not need either witli the Chaldee (comp. 
Geier, etc.) to get rid of it by exchanging the 
idea of "devouring" for that of "uttering," or 
in any other way; nor with Hitzig (following 
the LXX) to read instead of "mischief" 
(|1i<) "justice (p"}), and to translate accordingly 
"and the mouth of the wicked devoureth jus- 

Ver. 29. Judgments are prepared for 
scorners and stripes for the back of fools. 
— The "scorners" are quite the same as the 
"fools," as the first clause of ver. 2-5 shows; and 
the "stripes " (the term the same as in xviii. 6) 
are a special form of "judicial penalties or 
judgments." The verse as a whole, with which 
chap. xiv. 3; xxvi. 3 should be compared, stands 
in the relation of an explanation to the preceding, 
especially to the idea that the wicked eagerly 
devours calamity. [Their eagerness is not for- 
gotten by a just God, and fitting judgments await 
them. — A.] 


In the considerably rich and varied contents 
of the chapter, that which stands forth most con- 
spicuously as the leading conception and central 
idea is the idoa of the gentleness and mildness to 
be manifested in intercourse with one's neigh- 
bors. Gentleness and an humble devotion, ready 
even for suffering, man ought to exhibit first of 
all toward God, against whom it is not proper to 
complain even in calamity (ver. 3), who is in all 
things to be trusted (vers. 14, 17). according to 
M'hose wise counsels it is needful always to shape 
the life (ver. 21), and in whose fear one should 
ever walk (ver. 23). Not less is a gentle de- 
meanor a duty for the married in their mutual 
intercourse (ver. 13, 14); for parents in the 
training of their children (vers. 18, 19. 25) ; for 
children toward their parents (vers. 20, 2H) : for 
the rich in dispensing benefactions among the 
poor (vers. 1, 4, 7, 22) ; for rulers and kings to- 
ward their subjects (ver. 12 ; comp. vers. 6, 10); 
for men in general in their intercourse with 
their neiglibors (ver. 11 ; comp. vers. 19, 27, 28). . 
By far the larger number of the jiroverbs in tlie 
chapter are therefore arranged with reference 
to this leading and underlying conception of 
gentleness ; the whole presents itself as a tho- 
rough unfolding of the praises and commenda- 
tions of meekness in the New Testament, which 
are well known ; e. g., Matth. v. 5 ; James i. 20, 
21. — Only some single proverbs are less aptly 

CHAr. XIX. 1-29. 


classified in this connection, such as the warning 
against hasty, inconsiderate, rash action (ver. 2); 
tlTat against untruthfulness (vers. 9, 28) ; against 
slothtulness (vers. 15, 24) ; against folly aiKl a 
mocking contempt of the holy (vers. 8, 16, 29). 
And yet these interspersed sentences of a some- 
what incongruous stamp do not by any means 
essentially disturb the connection of the whole 
which is maintained and ruled by the fundamen- 
tal idea of gentleness. 

Therefore we may very suitably, in the homi- 
letical treatment of the chapter as a whole, take 
this as the general subject : The praise of meek- 
ness, as it is to be exhibited, 1) in respect to 
God, by the quiet reception of His word (James 
i. 21), and bringing forth fruit with patience 
(Luke viii. 15): 2) in relation to one's neighbors, 
by humility, obedience, love, compassion, etc. — 
Comp. Stouker: Against contempt of poor 
neighbors: 1) Dissuasion from this peculiarly 
evil fruit of wrath and uncharitableness (vers. 
1-15) ; 2) enumeration of some of the chief means 
to be used against wrath in general [ronedia. s. 
relinacula irse, vers. 16-29). — Wohlfarth : On 
contempt of the poor, and the moderation of 

Vers. 1-7. Geier (on ver. 1) : To tlie pious 
poor it may impart a strong consolation, that 
notvrithstanding their poverty they are better 
esteemed in the sight of God than a thousand un- 
godly and foolish rich men. — BerUburg Bible (on 
ver. 1) : He who has nothing that is his own, who 
accounts himself the poorest of all men, who sees 
nothing good in himself, and yet with all this 
Stands in the uprightness of his heart and in all 
simplicity, is far more pleasing to God than the 
souls that are rich in endowments and in learn- 
ing, and yet despise and deride the simple.— 
Stakke (on ver. 4) : Art thou forsaken by thy 
friends, by father and mother, by all men, be of 
good comfort ! if it be only on account of good- 
ness, God will never forsake thee. — (On vers. 6, 
7) : We often trust in men more than in God, but 
find vei-y often that this hope in men is abortive, 
and is brought to shame. — [Robert Hall (on ver. 
2) : Sermon on the advantages of knowledge to 
the lower classes. — T. Adams (on ver. 4) : Solo- 
mon says not the rich man, but riches; it is the 
money, not the man, they hunt.] 

Vers. 8-17. [Muffet (on ver. 8) : Every one 
hath a heart, but every one possesseth not his 
heart. He possesseth his heart that, furnishing 
it with knowledge of the truth, holdeth his lieart 
firm and fast therein, not suifering his courage 
to fail, nor losing that good possession which he 
hath gotten. — Chalmers (on ver. 10): With all 
the preference here expressed for virtuous po- 
verty — the seemliness of rank and the violence 
done by the upstart rule of the lower over the 
higher, are not overlooked.] — Melanchth-on (on 
ver. 10) : The ungoverned and uneducated are in 
prosperous conditions only the more insolent and 
base, as, e.g., Rehoboam, wlien lie became king, 
Alexander the Great after his great victories, etc. 
— Tahingen Bible (on ver. 11) : It is great wisdom 
to boar injustice with patience, and to overcome 
and even to gain over one's persecutors with *^"- 
nefits, 1 Pet. ii. 19; Matth. v. 44 sq. — (On vers. 
18, 14) : God's wise providence manifests itself 
very specially in the bestowal of good and pious 

partners in marriage. — Von Gerlach (on ver. 
17): The poor the Lord regards as specially His 
own, and therefore adjusts those debts of theirs 
which they cannot pay. — Berleb. Bible: With 
that which the righteous man dispenses in bene- 
factions to the poor, he is serving God in his 
counsels with respect to men. — [Lord Bacon (on 
ver. 11): As for the first wrong, it does but of- 
fend the law ; but the revenge of that wrong put- 
teth the law out of olfice. Certainly, in taking 
revenge a man is but even with his enemy, but 
in passing it over he is superior. — Trapp (on 
ver. 11): The manlier any man is, the milder 
and readier to pass by an ofiFence. When any 
provoke us we say. We will be even with him. 
There is a way whereby we may be not even with 
him, but above him, and that is, forgive him. — 
Aunot: The only legitimate anger is a holy 
emotion directed against an unholy thing. Sin, 
and not our neighbor, must be its object; zeal 
for righteousness, and not our own pride, must 
be its distinguishing character. ^ — Muffet (on 
ver. 17) : The Lord will not only pay for the 
poor man, but requite him that gave alms with 
usury, returning great gifts for small. Give, 
then, thy house, and receive heaven ; give tran- 
sitory goods, and receive a durable substance ; 
give a cup of cold water and receive God's King- 
dom — W. Bates: As there are numerous exam- 
ples of God's blasting the covetous, so it is as vi- 
sible He prospers the merciful, sometimes hy a 
secret blessing dispensed by an invisible hand, 
and sometimes in succeeding their diligent en- 
deavors in their callings.] 

Ver. 18 21. Tiibingen Bible: Cruelty to children 
is no discipline. Wisdom is needful, that one iu 
the matter of strictness may do neither too much 
nor too little to them. — Zeltner: Too sharp 
makes a notched edge, and too great strictness 
harms more than it helps, not only in the disci- 
pline of children, but in all stations and rela- 
tions. — Starke (on ver. 21) : God is the best 
counsellor. Who ever enters upon His cause 
with Him must prosper in it. — [.J. Foster: The 
great collective whole of the "devices" of all 
hearts constitutes the grand complex scheme of 
the human race for their happiness. Respecting 
the object of every device God has His design. 
There is in the world a want of coalescence be- 
tween the designs of man and God; an estranged 
spirit of design on the part of man. God's 
design is fixed and paramount, and " shall 

Vers. 22-29. Melanchthon (on ver. 25) : Not 
all, it is true, are improved by the warning ex- 
ample of the correction which comes upon the 
wicked, but some, that is, those who are rational 
and not insane, those who hearken to admonition 
and follow it. — Starke (on ver. 25) : The final 
aim of all penalty should be the improvement as 
well of him who is punished as of others who 
m.ay there see themselves mirrored. — (On ver. 
26) : He who would not experience shame and 
sorrow of heart from his children, let him accus- 
tom them seasonably to obedience, to the fear of 
God and reverence. — J. Lange: God's word is 
the right rule and measure of our life. Whoso- 
ever departs from this, his instruction is deceitful 
and ruinous. — Hasius (on ver. 29) : Every sin, 
whether great or small, has by God's ordinance 



its dofiuite penalty. Happy he who recognizes 
this, and knows how to shun these puuish- 

[Bp. Hall (on ver. 22) : That which should be 
the chief desire of a man is his beneficence and 
kindness to others; and if a rich man promise 
much and perform nothing, a poor man that is 
unable either to undertake or perforin is better 
than he. — Arnot: A poor man is better than a 
liar; a standard has been set up in the market 
place to measure the pretences of men withal, and 
those who will not employ it must take the con- 
sequences. — Chalmers (on ver. 23): Religion 
may begin with fear, but will end iu the sweets 

and satisfactions of a spontaneous and living 
principle of righteousness. — Bp. Sherlock (on 
ver. 27); Since the fears and apprehensions of 
guilt are such strong motives to infidelity, the 
innocence of the heart is absolutely necessary to 
the freedom of the mind. We must answer for 
the vanity of our reasonings as well as the vanity 
of our actions, and if we take pains to invent 
vain reasoning to oppose to the plain evidence 
that God has afforded us of His being and power, 
and to undermine the proofs and authority on 
which religion stands, we may be sure we shall 
not go unpunished.] 

e) Admonition to avoid drunkenness, sloth, a contentious spirit, eic 
Chap. XX. 

1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink boisterous, 
whosoever is led astray thereby is not wise. 

2 As the roaring of a lion is the dread of the king; 
he that provoketh him'sinneth against his own soul. 

3 It is an honor to a man to dwell far from strife, 
but every fool breaketh forth. 

4 The sluggard plougheth not because of the cold ; 
he seeketh in harvest and hath nothing. 

5 Counsel in the heart of a man is as deep waters, 
but a wise man draweth it out. 

6 Many proclaim each his own grace ; 
but a faithful man who can find ? 

7 He who in his innocence walketh uprightly, 
blessed are his children after him ! 

8 A king sitting on his throne, 
searcheth out all evil with his eyes. 

9 Who can say, I have made my heart clean, 
I am pure from my sin? 

10 Divers weights and divers measures, 

an abomination to Jehovah are they both. 

11 Even a child maketh himself known in his deeds, 
whether his work be pure, and whether it be right. 

12 The ear that heareth, and the eye that seeth — 
Jehovah hath created them both. 

13 Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty ; 
open thine eyes, and be satisfied with thy bread. 

14 " It is bad, it is bad ! " saith the buyer, 

but when he is gone his way then he boasteth. 

15 There is gold, and a multitude of i>earls ; 
but a precious vase are lips of knowledge. 

16 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, 
and for strangers make him a bondsman. 

17 Bread of deceit is sweet to a man, 

but afterward his mouth is filled with graveL 

18 Plans are established by counsel, 
and with good advice make war. 

CHAP. XX. 1-80. 177 

19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets ; 
with him that openeth wide his lips have nothing to do. 

20 He that curseth father and mother, 
his light goeth out in utter darkness. 

21 An inheritance that is hastily gained in the beginning, 
its end will not be blessed. 

22 Say not : Let me avenge the evil ! 
wait on Jehovah ; he will help thee. 

23 An abomination to Jehovah are diverse weights, 
and a deceitful balance is not good. 

24 Man's steps are of Jehovah ; 

man — how shall he understand his way? 

25 It is a snare to a man that he hath vowed hastily, 
and after vows to inquire. 

26 A wise king sifteth the wicked, 

and bringeth the (threshing) wheel over them. 

27 The spirit of man is a candle of Jehovah, 
searching all the chambers of the body. 

28 Grace and truth preserve the king, 
and he upholdeth his throne by mercy. 

29 The glory of young men is their strength, 
and the honor of old men is the grey head. 

30 Wounding stripes are a correction of evil, 
and strokes in the inner chambers of the body. 


Ver. 2. n3_;'nD is either to be pointed with Hitziq 113^?nD (partic. with sufBx from a denominative verb of Ara- 
maic form 'nSj,^'^, " to throw into a passion, to excite wrath " [HT^^']. or, which is probably simpler, with Ewald, Ber- 

THEAU. [Fuerst], etc., to conceive of it as a HitVip. participle, whose ordinary meaning. " to become excited against any 
one,' (conip. xxvi 17) here passes over into the transiciv.) nh-n. -'t < excite some o;ie against one's self, to call some one 
forth against one's self." Altogether too artificial, and in conflict witli the old versions (LXX : 6 rrapo^vvav avTou; Vulg.; 
qui provnoit eu7n) U Umbkeit's explanariou : "ho that aronsptli himself (riseth up) against him [the king]." [E. V., H., 
S., M., eic, agree witli our authur; Dk W. and Noyes, with UmbreitJ. 

Ver. 3. r\3tJ/ is according to the Musoretic punctuation the Infinitive of ^jy' [as in Isa. xxx. 7] and not, as most of 
the recent interpretprs [among them Umbreit, Ewald, IIitzig. [Fuerst, M., etc.]], regard it, a substantive from the root 
n^tJ'i for which derivation certainly no other support could be adduced than Ex. xxi. 19. 

Ver. 4. The K'ri TNt^l is doubtless preferable to the K'thibh IJ^t^' (Ps. cix. 10), for "to beg in harvest" would 
~ T : . •• T : 

give a meaning too intense. [So 11., S., etc.]. — IliiziG changes cilH^ into ^in*3, which, according to Arabic analogies, 

should mean "a fruit basket;" he then reads jHU'' "he demands, desires," and obtains the meaning: 

"A pannier [?] the sluggard doth not provide [?], 

"trieth to borrow [?] in harvest, and nothing Cometh of it [?]." 

Ver. 9. ['^\'^^£^, cited by Bott. ^948, c, as one of the examples of the " stative" perfect, used to describe spiritual 

states. TOJ^'", on^ of his examples o( the "liens licitum," the Imperf. used to express what can be: "who can say;" 

§ 950, ^.-A.] , 

Ver. 16. [np7 standing emphatically at the beginning of a verse, one of the few instances of the full Imperative 

form ; Bott. § llnl'. 2— A.]. 

A'er. 18. iiv/ALD proposes instead of Hty^ to read the lufin. T]\l^)?, as in chap. xxi. 3 ; but the Imperative seems more 

appropriate, and gives to the expression greater vivacity. 

Ver. 22. [Tn I'C/'I, one of the few examples of double accent, the penultimate accent marking the rhythm, that on 
' |T ' ;-j: 
thn ultima sustaining its vowel ; Bott. J 4S2, e.y. — The Jussive form with 1 consec. is used to assert a sure result; Bott. 
" ajjirmativ covsecutiv." — \.] 

Ver. 25, J77\ essentially identical with ni'7, signifies, according to the Arabic, "to speak inconsiderately, to pro- 

~ T . . TT 

mise thoughtlessly ;" ^^p is here not a substantive, but an Infinitive continuing the finite verb. According to this 
simple explanation, which is lexically well justified, Ewald's conception of J? 7' as a substantive, which should be pointed 
^'7', and translated, " hasty vow," may be dismissed as superfluous ; and also the derivation preferred by Jerome, Luther 
and others of the older expositors, from the root j;i'7 " to swallow" [Vulgate : devorare sanctos; Luther : " das Heilige 
Zasierre"]. [Gesen. and Fuerst are authorities for the view adopted by our author, while Bott., with great pcsitivcaesa 

[f 964, 5 and n. 7] pronounces the form a Jussive form with a "permissive" meaning, from 1^1 7 or ^'J,'7 ; ''let him only, 
i.e. if ho only hurry or hasten too much." — A.] 

Ver. 29. [D''"l^n3- young men, jMiie;ies, as distinguished from D'T^flS, y onth, jwientas ; comp. Boii., 2 408,^. — A.]. 

12 ' '' 



1. Vers. 1-5. Various precepts of prudence 
and integrity, (especially directed against drunk- 
enness, a contentious spirit and indolence). — 
"Wine is a mocker. The spirit of wine, and 
in like manner that of " mead " or "strong 
drink" ("13Cf, okspa, Luke i. 15),* a frequent 
accompaniment or substitute of wine (comp. 
Lev. X. i); Num. vi. 3; Judg. xiii. 4 sq. ;_ Isa. v. 
11 ; xsviii. 7, etc.), appears here "personified, or 
represented as in a sense an evil demon, which 
excites to frivolous wantonness, to wild and 
boisterous action, and by the confusion of the 
senses into which it plunges man, robs him of 
all clear selt-possession " (Ei.steu). — Whoso- 
ever is led astray thereby is not wise. 
\Vith this phrase "to stagger, or reel because of 
or under souiething " comp. v. 19. For the 
general meaning, Isa. xxviii. 7. 

Vor. 2. With clause a compare xix. 12 (which 
is literally identical with the clause before us, 
except that this has nO'S<, "dread" [terrible 
word, an utterance that spreads terror] instead 
of n>'I). — He that provoketh him sinneth 
against his own souL For the first phrase see 
Critical Notes. — " Sinneth against his own soul " 
(1i:/3J, an accusative of respect) ; comp. kindred 
although not identical expressions in viii. 3G ; 
Ti. 32. 

Vor. 3. It is an honor to a man to dwell 
far from strife. See Critical Notes. To "dwell 
far from strife" is an apt expression to describe 
the quiet, peaceable demeanor of the wise man, 
in contrast with the passionate activity of the 
contentious multitude. For the meaning and 

use of the verb of clause b, J-'vjri', comp. xvii. 
14; xviii. 1; with the meaning of the whole 
expression comp. xix. 11. 

Ver. 4. The sluggard plougheth not be- 
cause of the cold, tliat is, because the season 
in which his field should be cured for is too dis- 
agreeably rough and cold for him. [For illus- 
tration see 'iaoMsoii's Land and Book, I., 207]. 
Inconsequence of this indolent procedure "he 
seeketh in harvest " — for fruits of his field — " and 
there is nothing." See Critical Notes. [Rueet- 
SCHI, ubi supra, p. 149, retaining the; general 
meaning, objects that the term here used is not 
the one that of itself describes the cold and 
stormy harvest time; he therefore retains the 
temporal meaning of the preposition, and ren- 
ders, "from the time of the (fruit) harvest on- 
ward," etc., this being the proper time for the 
ploughing and sowing, a time which none can 
suffer lo pass by. — .\.] 

Ver. 5. Counsel in the heart of man is as 
deep •waters, etc.: i. c the jiiir]iose tliat one lias 
formed may be dillicult to fathom (see the same 
figtire, chap, xviii. 1) ; a wise man nevertheless 
draws him out, elicits from hini his secret, and 

brings it to light. rt/T means to " draw " water 

•with a bucket (wl, Isa. xl. 15), to bring it up 

* For II I'nll mill viilimblo discussion of the mciining of 
thosi' iinil Ivindncl tirms, spo ,iti article by Dr. L.\UKIE iu the 
MiblioUieca Sacra, January, 1809. — A. 

laboriously from a deep place (Ex. ii. 16, 19) — a 
metaphor suggested by the figure in clause a, 
and evidently very expressive. 

2. Vers. U-ll. On the general sinfulness of 
men. — Many proclaim each his own grace 
(or love). The verb which is originally to "call" 
is here to " proclaim, to boast of," prxdicure. 
II^'X, "each individual " of the " many a man," 
the mass or majority of men. — But a faithful 
man •who can find ? For the phrase " a man 
of lidelity," comp. xiii. 17 ; xiv. 5; for the gen- 
eral meaning, I's. exvi. 11 ; Rom. iii. 4. 

Ver. 7. He •who in his innocexice •walk- 
eth upright. Thus, taking p^liT attributively, 

as an adjective subordinated to the participle, the 
LXX, Vulg., Syr., had already treated the con- 
struction, and later Ewald and Hixzio [and 
Kamph.] ; while recent expositors generally 
render, "isa righteous man" [H. and N.], or 
in other instances treat the "righteous " as the 
subject (Umbkeit, Eester, etc.), [S. and M., 
E. v., andDnW.]. — With this benediction upoa 
the descendants of the righteous in clause b 
comp. xiv. 26; with the Vinx "after him," i. e. 
after his death. Gen. xxiv. G7 : .Job xxi. 21. 

Ver. 8. A king .... searcheth out all 
evil \Arith his eyes. The natural reference is 
to the king as he corresponds with his ideul, that 
he be the representative on earth of God, the 
supreme Judge. Comp. xvi. 10; also Isa. xi. 4, 
where similar attributes to these are ascribed to 
the Messiah, as the ideal typically perfect king. 
With this use of the verb "to sift or winnow," 
to separate, comp. ver. 26. 

Ver. 9. Who can say : I have made my 
heart clean, I am pure from my sin ? The 
question naturally conveys a decided negative 
by implication : " No one can say," etc. ; comp. 
ver. 6 6, and ver. 24 b. It is not a permanent 
purity, a "having kept one's self pure" (from 
birth onward) that is the subject of the emphatic 
denial in this proverb (in opposition to Ber- 
theau's view), but a having attained to moral 
perfection, the having really conquered all the 
sins that Avere in existence before, that is denied. 
We should therefore bring into comparison not 
passages like Job xiv. 4; xv. 14; Ps. li. 5 (7), 
but such as 1 Kings viii. 46 ; Eccles. vii. 20 ; 1 John 
i. 8; James iii. 2, etc. With this expression, "I 
have made my heart clean," comp. Ps. Ixxiii. 13. 

Ver. 10 draws attention to deception in busi- 
ness intercourse as a peculiar and prominent 
form of that universal sinfulness which has just 
been spoken of as having no exceptions. Comp. 
chap xi. 1, and ver. 23 below. With the lan- 
guage in clause b compare xvii. 15 b. 

Vers. 11. Even a child maketh himself 
known in his deeds. With regard to the DJ> 
" even," which does not belong to the word next 
following, but to the 1^'J, "child" (as Geier, 
Umbreit, Elster, HiTzia rightly interpret), 
comp. remarks on xix. 2. — " His deeds" Ewald 
and U.MBHKiT are inclined to render by "plays, 
sports," in disregard of the uniform meaning of 
the word, and in opposition to the only correct 

construction of the " even." D /^I'.^ is rather 
the works, the actions, the individual results of 

CHAP. XX. 1-30. 


the child's self-determination, from which it may 
even now be with confidence inferred of what 
sort "his work" is, i. e. the entire inner ten- 
dency of his life, his character (if one prefers 
the notion), the nature of liis spirit (IIitzig). — • 
That this thought also stamls relatod to the fact 
of universal sinfulness needs no fuller demon- 
str.ation. Coinp. the familiar German proverb, 
" \Fus ein Dijrnchen iverden will spilzt sich bei 
Z'iti'ii'" [what means to become a thorn is early 

3 Vers. 12-19. Admonitions to confidence in 
God, to i^llustr^^ pruiience and integrity.— The 
ear that heareth, and the eye that seeth— 
Jehovah hath created them both. An al- 
lusion, pLiinly, not to the adaptation, the divine 
purpose and direction in the functions of hear- 
ing and seeing ( Hitzig), but to God's omniscience 
as a powerful motive to the fear of God and con- 
fiik'nce in Him; comp. xv. 3, and especially Ps. 
xciv. 9. 

Ver. 13. With a compare vi. 9, 10. — Open 
thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied 
with bread. The imperative clause, "be sat- 
isfi.'d with bread," has here the meaning of a 
consecutive clause, as in iii. 4. [This illustrates 
what 136tt., § 9-57, G, calls the "desponsive" use 
of the Imperative, conveying sure promises]. 
With this language compare xii. 11. To "open 
the eyes" is naturally the opposite of sleep and 
drowsiness, and therefore the description of 
wakeful, vigorous, active conduct. 

Ver. II. " It is bad, it is bad!" saith the 
buyer, bat ■when he is gone his •way 

(17 7ii*1, for which we should perhaps with 
HiTZiG read w /jXI, corresponds with the Ger- 
man, " xind trollt er sich " [when lie takes himself 
off], wiien he has gone his way) then he 
boasteth, /. e. of the good bargain that he has 
made. The verse therefore censures the well- 
known craft, the deceitful misrepresentation, 
with which business men seek to buy their wares 
as cheap as possible, below their real value if 
they can. In opposition to the true meaning of 

npp, as well as inconsistently with the idea of 
boasting in the second clause, Sciiultens and 
Elster (and LtiTHER likewise) render: "It is 
had, it is bad ! saith the owner (?) of his posses- 
sion; but when it is gone(?) then he boasteth of 
it (?)." 

Ver. 1-5. There is indeed gold and a 
multitude of pearls, etc. As these precious 
things are compared in chap. iii. 14, 15; viii. 11, 
with intelligent, wise dispositions and discourse, 
so are they here compared with wise lips, that is, 
with the organ of wise discourse. In this con- 
nection we should doubtless notice the difference 
between " gold and pearls " as valuable native 
material, not yet wrought into articles of orna- 
ment, and on the other hand, the lips as an ar- 
tistic "vase" or other "vessel" (that has come 
forth from the hand of the divine artificer, and 
is adorned and embellished by man's wise use 
of it). 

Ver. 16. Comp. vi. 1-5; xi. 15; xvii. 18. In- 
stead of the warnings that are there found against 
foolish suretyship, we have here in a livelier 
Style a demand to give over at once, without 

hesitation as bondsman any such inconsiderate 
surety. — And for strangers make him a 
surety. Instead of the K'ri " for a strange 
woman," i. e., an adulteress, we should unques- 
tionably retain here the K'thibh, " for strangers, 
unknown people;" while in the corresponding 
passage, chap, xxvii. 13, IT'^IDJ " the strange 
woman" is undoubtedly the correct reading. 

Ver. 17. Bread of deceit is sv/eet to a 
man, i. e., enjoyments and possessions secured 
by means of deceit ; comp. xxiii, 3; ix. 17. — For 
this use of "sand, gravel," (an appropriate em- 
blem to describe a thing not to be enjoyed) comp. 
Lam. iii. 10. 

Ver. 18. Plans are established by coun- 
sel. Hi'J^ here equivalent to 11D, counsel 
which one takes with another, — comp. xv. 22. — ■ 
And with good advice make w^ar. The 
" advice" or management (comp. i. 5) is plainly 
contemplated as the result of the counsel that 
has been taken ; comp. xxiv. 6. 

Ver. 19. With clause a compare xi. 13; with 
b, xiii. 3. 

4. Vers. 20-23. Against hatred of parents, le- 
gacy-hunting, revenge, deceit. — He that cur- 
seth father and mother, and so in the boldest 
way transgresses the fifth commandment of the 
law, (Ex. XX. 12, comp. Ex. xxi. 17; Lev. xx. 
9). — His light goeth out in utter darkness. 
The same figure is used also in xiii. 9, here as 
there serving to illustrate the hopeless destruc- 
tion of life and prosperity. — In regard to ] Vi^/'^X, 
the "pupil of the eye, blackness, midnight" — 
for which the K'ri unnecessarily demands the 
Aramaic \^^i^ — comp. notes on vii. 9. 

Ver. 21. An inheritance that hath been 
hastily gained in the beginning. In favor 

of the K'ri Hinbo, " hurried, hastened " (comp. 

Esther, viii. 14, and also remarks above on 
chap. xiii. 11), we have the testimony of the an- 
cient versions, the parallel in xxviii. 20, 22, and 
besides the position of this verse after verse 20. 
For it is precisely the wayward son, who de- 
spises and curses his parents, that will be very 
readily disposed to seize upon his inheritance be- 
fore the time against their will (comp. Luke xv. 
12), and possibly even to drive his parents vio- 
lently out of their possession (comp. xix. 26). 
That no blessing can rest upon such possessions, 
that as they were unrighteously acquired at first 
so they must in the end be wasted and come to 
nought, is a truth which clause 6 in a simple 

way brings to view. The K'thibh nbnnp would 
either signify "cursed," in accordance with 
Zech. xi. 8 (so Elster, e. g., regards it), or in 
accordance with the Arabic, " acquired by ava- 
rice " (soU.mbreit). [H., N., W., S., M., Ber- 
T[iE.\u, Kampii, etc , agree in supporting the ex- 
position adopted by our author]. 

Ver. 22. Say not: let me avenge the evil; 
i. e , do not desire to requite evil with evil, do 
not avenge thyself for offences that have been 
done thee ; comp. xxiv. 29 ; Deut. xxxii. 35 ; 
Rom. xii. 17; 1 Pet. iii. 9. — The second member 
of clause 6 is evidently a consecutive clause, as 
the Jussive frequently is after the Imperative ; 



comp. Isa. viii. 10; 2 Kings v. 10. The Vulgate 
coi'rectly renders "e/ liberabit (e," while the LXX, 
RosENMUELLER, EwALD, elc, treat tlie words as 
a final clause ; " that he may keep tliee."' 

Vor. 23. Comp. ver. 10. A deceitful ba- 
lance is not good; (Z , "is sliauieful," lit. is 
" not good, is no good," as in xvii. 26 ; xviii. -5) ; 
a liloles, expressing the idea of that which is very 

5. Ver. 24-30. Miscellaneous admonitions to 
the fear of God and integrity. — From Jeho- 
vah are man's steps; comp. xvi. 9; Ps. 
xxxvii. 23. The "steps" are naturally "not 
acts in their subjective ethical aspect, but these 
acts according to their result, their several is- 
sues in a parallel series of experiences, — and 
therefore those events depending on the action of 
man which make up its external counterpart " 
(HiTzio). — In regard to the emphatic negative 
import of the question iu clause b, compare re- 
marks on ver. 9. 

Ver. 25. Before the t!'^p >? T [he hath vow- 
ed hastily] there should be supplied the con- 
junction DX, "if;" therefore render literally 
"it is a snare to a man, vows he hastily," i. e., 
if he in a hasty manner promises to devote a 
thing to God as sacred (as Kop.^'iv, Mark vii. 11). 
See Critical notes. — Furthermore hasty conse- 
crations, and in like manner, according to clause 
b the hasty assumption of vows, are here called a 

"snare" (li'^P, comp. remarks on xviii. 7), be- 
cause he who makes the rash vow afterward 
easily repents of it, and falls under the tempta- 
tion sinfully to break or to recall his vow (comp. 
Numb. XXX. 3; Eccles. v. 3). 

Ver. 26. A w^ise king sifteth the Mricked. 
To "sift" or "winnow" expresses here, just as 
it does in ver. 8, a discriminating separation of 
the chaff from the grain; comp. for this familiar 
and pertinent, figure Ps. i. 4 ; Isa. xvii. 13 ; Am. 
ix. 9. — And bringeth the ■wheel over them, 
i.e., the wheel of the threshing cart (Isa. xxvili. 
27 sq.), which however is contemplated here not 
so much as an instrument of harvesting, as ra- 
ther in the light of a means and emblem of the 
severe punishment of captive enemies (in accord- 
ance with 2 Sam. xii. 31 ; 1 Chron. xx. 3 ; Am. 
i. 3). There is therefore no offence to be taken 
in view of thefact that in the operation of thresh- 
ing the crushing with the wheel preceded the 
winnowing or sifting, while here it is not men- 
tioned until after it (in reply to Brktiieau). 

Ver. 27. The spirit of man is a candle of 
Jehovah; lit., " man's irea^'t," for this is the 
first meaning of the Hebrew term iTDK^J (Gen. 
ii. 7) ; yet it is not the soul wliich pervades and 
animates all the members of the body (as HiT- 
zifj renders), according to the view of many of 
the elder expositors, as also Starke, Von Ger- 
LACir, etc., but the spirit, as the higher manifes- 
tation of soul-life, or if any one prefers, the rea- 
son, sdf-consciousness (Umureit. Elster) that is 
intended by the expression. For all analogies 
are wanting, at lea.«t within the range of the Bi- 
ble, for a compiirison of the so)(l with a light (the 
Arabic maxim in Kazwini Cosmoiy. I. 355, in 
whicli the soul, N'ephrsch. is designated the light 
of the body, plainly has no bearing on our pre- 

sent object). On the contrary the inner light or 
eye, (to (l>(l)g to kv aol) of which the Lord speaks 
in Matth. vi. 22, 23, is unquestionably an organ 
or factor of the higher spiritual soul, more pre- 
cisely designated as the vovg or the reason. In 
support of the idea that nOt!^J in the passage 
before us signifies essentially this and nothing 
else, there may be adduced the identity of 
D^'H no^'J with D^n nn as indicated by a 
comparison of Gen. vi. 17 with Gen. ii. 7. The 
expression " candle of Jehovah " moreover seems 
to point rather to the spirit as that factor in hu- 
man personality which proceeds immediately 
from God, than to the soul which inheres in the 
physical life, and does not rise essentially above 
it.*— -[WoRDSw. and some other English exposi- 
tors understand the allusion to be specifically to 
the conscience; the majority are content with 
the more comprehensive tei'm spirit, including 
intellectual and moral factors. — A."|. — Search- 
ing all the chambers of the body, i. e.. 1< ok- 
ing through its whole inferior, — which clearly 
suggests the 7-?///n^ relation of this "searcher" 
to the bod3% the sphere of its activity, and so is 
very pertinent with respect to the spirit, but 
not to the soul. In regard to the " chambers of 
the body " comp. ver. 36, and xviii. 8. 

Ver. 28. Grace and truth preserve the 
king. "Mercy and truth," or "love and 
truth," not quite in the sense of iii. 3; the at- 
tributes of a king are intended by the terms, 
which shoulil rather be rendered "grace and 
truth." With this idea of " preserving " comp. 
Ps. XXV. 21 ; with that of "upholding " in clause 
b, Isa. ix. 6. 

Ver. 20, Comp. xvi. 31 ; xvii. 6. 

Ver. 30. Wounding stripes are a correc- 
tion of evil and stvolies ((hat reach) to the 
chambers of the body ; i. e., stripes or blows 
that cause wounds, such as one administers to 
his son under severe discipline (comp. xix. 18), 
have this beneficial effect, that they intend a sa- 
lutary infliction or correction "on the evil" in 
this son, as a scouring of the rust which has ga- 
thered on a metal cleanses and brightens the me- 
tal. And not merely does such an external 
chastening as this accomplish the sharp correc- 
tion of the son ; it penetrates deep into the in- 
most parts of the body (comp. remarks on ver. 
27), i. e., to the innermost foundations of his per- 
sonal life and consciousness, and so exerts a re- 
forming influence on him. Thus Ewald and 
Elster correctly render, and substantially Um- 
DREtT also (comp. Luther's version, which ex- 
presses the true meaning at least in general), 
while Bertheau regards p11?pr>, " remedial 
application," as the subject, and (after the ana- 
logy of Esther ii. 3, 9, 12) understands it to re- 
fer to " the application of ointments and per- 
fumes for beautifying" (! ?) ; Hitzig, however, 
naturally emends again, and by changing P^^On 

to Dp' ibil obtains the meaning: "Wounding 
stripes drop (?) into the cup of the wicked (?) 
and strokes into the chambers of the body." — 
[Our English version is defective from its obscu- 
rity: The blueness of a tvound cleanseth away evil. 

* Von RnDLOFF, Lehre. vnm Menschen, 2d Ed., p. 48, also takes 
a correct view of the passage. 

CHAP. XX. 1-30. 


Recent expositors are clearer in tlieii' renderings, 
and dilfer but sligiitlj in their ciioice of terms. 
Stuart; Woundini/ siripes (H. ; the bruises of a 
wound) are the rcincdy for the base (H. ; are a 
cleansrr in a ivicked man) ; N. <'ind M. ; The scars 
(stripi'.i) of a wound are a cleaning from evil- ; 
WouDsw., parapiirasing soniowliat more: The 
stripes of a ivound are the (only) wiping away of 
(certain cases of) eviL.'\ 


It is evidently impossible to derive the many 
maxims of the chapter from a single primary and 
fiiniiamental thoiiglit. The warning against 
drunkenness or the passion of the intemperate, 
whicli introduces the diversified series, has in 
the further progress of the discourse no succes- 
sor whatsoever of similar form, and could be re- 
tained as the tlieine or the germinal tiiouglit for 
the whole only b}' the most artificial operations, 
such as StocivER, e. g., and otliers of former 
times undertook (comp. the introductory para- 
graph to the Homileiic hints). Much more rea- 
dily might, a contentious and revengeful spirit be 
regarded as the chief object of the admonitory 
representations and suggestions of this section 
(see vers. 2, 3, 6, 14, 19, 22j. But a space at 
least equally large is given to the dissuasions 
from indolence and deceit (vers. 4, 10, 13, 14, 
17. 23), and again to tlie commendations, some- 
what more general in tlicir form, of wise and^up- 
right conduct (vers. 7, 9, 11, 15, 18, 24— 2G, 29). 
Only a single group of proverbs in this cliap. 
stands out from the mass of diverse and isolated 
maxims and aphorisms, as contemplating one 
object with considerable compactness and unity 
of view. This is the division which relates to 
i\\Q general sinfulness of men (vers, ti-11). And 
this in fact presents also the ricliest and most 
important doctrinal material which the chapter 
anywiiere contains. Starting with the fact, 
alas! too palpable, that really faithful men, i. c.. 
men who are on all sides reliable, free from all 
falseliood and untruth, are to be found nowhere 
on the earth (ver. 6; chap. John via. 4G, and the 
passages cited above in notes to ver ti), the re- 
presentation Ijrings into the foreground the ideal 
of moral innocence, upriglitness, and the practi- 
cal prosperity which b^doags to it, as this ouglit 
actually to be realized by humanity (ver. 7). It 
then at once suggests the crying contrast which 
exists between the real moral condition of hu- 
manity and the ethical aim of its perfect state, 
pointing to tlie manifold and numberless forms 
of evil in conflict with whicli, injudicial expo- 
sures and punishments of which, earthly kings 
even now are engaged (ver. 8). It next gives 
an oul right expression to the universal need of 
purification and improvement (ver. 9), and then 
brings forwar